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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
Olympic National Park fire officials are planning to conduct the Deer Park Research Prescribed Fire tomorrow, Thursday, September 13 in the Deer Park area southeast of Port Angeles.
Forecast weather conditions are favorable for the burn with light winds and a cooling trend expected over the weekend. Fire behavior is expected to be minimal, given the relatively high fuel moisture that has been measured on site. Weather and fuel moisture are closely monitored before, during and after a prescribed fire.
Ignition is planned for approximately noon tomorrow. Once the fire is ignited, smoke will be visible from throughout the Port Angeles-Sequim area and from the Hurricane Ridge Road. Overlooks along the Hurricane Ridge Road will provide good viewpoints looking east toward the burn area.
In the area of the planned burn, research indicates that fire burned through the Douglas-fir forests as often as every 26 years, much more frequently than in many other areas of the park.
“This burn will provide us with valuable insights about fire in Douglas-fir forests,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Bill Laitner. “We look forward not only to the scientific benefits of this research, but also to having more information to help guide future fire management decisions.”
Tomorrow’s fire is designed to determine if mature Douglas-fir forests with salal shrub understory are capable of supporting low to moderate intensity fire. This fire will provide information about fuel consumption, tree mortality, tree and shrub regeneration and soil nutrient cycles. In turn, this information will assist park managers in future decisions about wildland fire use in Douglas-fir forest.
Two separate burn plots containing a total of eight acres are planned. Both are located about two miles south of the Olympic National Park boundary along the Deer Park Road.
The Deer Park Road will remain open throughout the burning period, however minor traffic delays may be necessary.
This prescribed fire was described and approved as part of the Olympic National Park Fire Management Plan, approved in December 2005 after extensive public review and comment. It will comply with regulations in the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Smoke Management Plan and local air quality regulations.
Because of the weather and fuel conditions needed to conduct this small research burn, the park has been given approval from Clallam County fire agencies to conduct this fire during the ongoing county-wide burn ban.
The prescribed fire will be conducted with National Park Service fire management personnel and wildland fire engines on scene. Fire personnel will patrol the fire until it declared out.