September 18, 2012
Contact: Ken Hires
, 360-854-7365 ext. 13
The North Cascades National Park fire management team is preparing for a potential prescribed burn in the Stehekin Valley. This burn will not occur until the demand for firefighting resources to help contain the wildfires in the area has subsided, and the current air quality and dry fuel conditions have improved. The exact timing will be determined by environmental conditions, such as weather and fuel moisture. Visitors and residents should expect to see smoke. After ignition is complete, burn crews will begin mopping up to minimize smoke impacts, especially if the burn occurs before or during the first full week of October when businesses offer special visitor packages in conjunction with fall colors and the Harvest Festival.
Minimizing the amount of fuel in strategic areas protects public and private lands from the adverse effects of wildfires. "Prescribed fire is a vital part of the park's fire management strategy," says North Cascades National Park Fire Management Officer Dee Townsend. "This strategy proved effective during the 2010 Rainbow Bridge Fire, which did not impact personal safety or property as a direct result of past treatments such as manual thinning and prescribed burning."
This prescribed burn will occur within the Boulder Forest Fuels Reduction Area located just east of the Stehekin Valley Road between two and three miles up the valley. Approximately 79 acres will be treated on both sides of the Rainbow Loop Trail. Access to the lower portion of the Rainbow Loop Trail may be limited or restricted during brief periods of active burning but closures are not expected.
Limited pile burning may also occur near the airstrip, above the Harlequin Bridge, along Company Creek, and at the maintenance yard.
Prescribed burns are the careful application of fire under specific parameters and within defined boundaries set forth in a plan. They are conducted only when precise environmental conditions, or burn prescriptions, are met. Fuel moisture, temperature and wind direction must meet predefined prescriptions before fire managers will commence burning.
These treatments reduce the build-up of fuels, such as sticks, needles and other plant matter, and are intended to protect communities from wildfire. Prescribed burns also enhance habitat for fire-dependent plants and animals and help increase ecosystem diversity by stimulating new vegetation growth.
Visit www.stehekin.com for trip planning resources, including lodging options, ferry and floatplane schedules, and descriptions of the broad-range of activities available in Stehekin.