Fire Management

Firefighters walk with drip torches to ignite a prescribed burn.
Firefighters use drip torches to ignite a prescribed burn at Fort Spokane.

NPS/T. Neider

What We Do

Wildland fire management in the National Park Service is dedicated to safety, science, and resource stewardship. A safe and successful fire management program has many elements that must all work together.

The NPS manages wildland fire to protect the public, communities and infrastructure, and to restore and maintain ecological health. The program manages fire based on the best scientific information and monitors programs to ensure that objectives are being met. NPS fire program managers work in coordination with other natural and resource disciplines and interagency partners to ensure that park resources and values are preserved, protected, and enhanced through the appropriate response to wildfire and the application of fuels treatments.

For more great information on Washington prescribed fire, please visit http://waprescribedfire.org/

 

Fuels Management

Fuels management includes both planned prescribed burns and other treatments to change or reduce wildland fuels. The fuels management program of the National Park Service has become increasingly important for reducing the risk of severe wildland fire to human communities and for maintaining or improving the health of park ecosystems. Many of the wildland areas found in NPS units are characterized as fire-adapted or fire-dependent and thus require periodic fire to maintain a healthy, resilient condition. Within these ecosystems, prescribed fire can help restore and sustain long-term environmental health. Mechanical treatments, such as thinning, mowing, and removing excessive dead vegetation, may also be implemented to reduce hazardous fuels and restore ecosystem health. Prescribed fire and mechanical treatments are used to protect park visitors, park developments, and neighboring communities from destructive wildfires by reducing the fuels that otherwise contribute to destructive wildfires. Occasionally, by-products from hazardous fuel removals are used to create biomass fuels or products.

Prescribed Fire

The National Park Service uses prescribed fire as a vegetation management tool in order to accomplish natural and cultural resource goals. Prescribed burns are ignited to:

  • Reduce hazardous fuel loads near developed areas. Hazard fuel reduction around developed areas provides for firefighter safety and structure protection in the event of a wildfire.
  • Restore and maintain natural landscapes, such as the Pine and Fir stands around Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
  • Maintain cultural landscapes, such as areas around St. Paul's Mission. Before any prescribed fire is permitted, the park must complete a strategic Fire Management Plan as well as a burn plan. Each planned fire must meet all the conditions identified in a go/no go checklist before ignition. When fire cannot be used, hazard fuel reduction may be accomplished with mechanical treatments such as saws and manual removal, or through other methods.

Post-Fire Rehabilitation and Recovery

While wildfires may be beneficial and cause little damage to the land, some fires create situations that require special efforts to prevent further problems after the fire. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion; runoff may increase and cause flooding, sediments may move downstream and damage houses or fill reservoirs, and put endangered species and community water supplies at risk. Post-fire programs such as Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage after the fire is out.

 
Map of 2017 Proposed Fuel Management Projects
Map of 2017 Lake Roosevelt NRA Fuel Management Projects

2017 Fuel Reduction Projects

There are ten proposed fuel reduction projects for 2017.

1: Defensible Space Thin – 4 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees adjacent
to private structures.
2: Log Yard C Pile Burn – 14 acres
Hand pile burn in previously thinned forest stand.
3: Haag Cove Burn – 21 acres
Understory burn in previously thinned forest stand.
4: Rickey North Pile Burn – 7 acres
Hand pile burn in previously thinned forest stand.
Rickey 3 Burn – 25 acres
Understory burn in previously thinned forest stand.
Rickey Point Burn – 16 acres
Understory burn in previously thinned forest stand.
Part of this 60 acre unit was burned in 2014 and 2016.
5: Rickey South Thin – 19 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees in overstocked
forest stand adjacent to Lake Roosevelt and Hwy 25.
6: Martin Creek Thin – 12 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees in overstocked
forest stand adjacent to Lake Roosevelt and private property.
7: Defensible Space Thin – 5 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees in overstocked
forest stand adjacent to Lake Roosevelt and private property.
8: Copa Pile Burn – 12 acres
Hand pile burn in previously thinned forest stand.Adjacent to Daisy Boat Launch.
9: Hunters Campground Thin – 17 acres
Thin and hand pile or chip small diameter trees in
Overstocked forest stand adjacent to and in
Campground.
Hunters Campground Pile Burn – 10 acres
Hand pile burn in previously thinned forest stand.
10: River Way B Thin – 24 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees in overstocked
forest stand adjacent to Lake Roosevelt and private property.
Defensible Space Thin – 2 acres
Thin and hand pile small diameter trees in overstocked
forest stand adjacent to Lake Roosevelt and private property.

Last updated: July 19, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
1008 Crest Drive

Coulee Dam, WA 99116

Phone:

(509) 754-7800

Contact Us