National Scenic Area Plans Prescribed Burns through Fall

Contact: Rachel Pawlitz, U.S. Forest Service, (503) 758-2624
Twitter: @crgnsa

An underburn is a prescribed fire that clears out brushBingen, Wash. — August 30, 2019 – With the seasonal shift in weather, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area plans to start prescribed burning in the eastern Gorge soon.

Prescribed burning is a controlled, low intensity fire used to manage “fuels” by clearing ground vegetation and accumulated woody debris from the forest understory. Fuels management also helps restore historic landscapes in eastern Gorge, where widely-space forest made up of large oak and pine trees once dominated. Other benefits include reduction of wildfire smoke, recycling soil nutrients, improving wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and increasing resiliency of treated stands to the effects of wildfire.

This year’s focus includes several units of land east of Bingen and White Salmon and just west of the Klickitat River and Lyle, Washington. Prescribed burning may occur at various times between September to January, depending on local conditions. 

The actual day of ignition for the burns will be selected when factors such as humidity, wind speed and direction, temperature and moisture levels of understory vegetation help ensure a low intensity, well-controlled fire. Burns only occur on days when the Washington State Smoke Management Office approves that weather conditions will aid in smoke dispersal. 

Smoke may be visible on Washington State Route 14 and Interstate 84 at times during the burns. When smoke is present, motorists should reduce speeds and turn on headlights.

Once specific date(s) for burning are confirmed, details will be posted on and Those with asthma can request to be on a special call list for advance notifications by contacting the National Scenic Area office at 541-308-1700.


The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area encompasses 292,500 acres of Washington and Oregon, where the Columbia River cuts a spectacular river canyon through the Cascade Mountains. The USDA Forest Service manages National Forest lands in the National Scenic Area and works with the Gorge Commission, states, counties, treaty tribes, and partners to protect and enhance scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Columbia River Gorge while encouraging local economic development consistent with that protection. Learn more at or follow updates at or

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