Prescribed Burn Planned near Mt. Adams on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Release Date: Oct 6, 2021

Contact(s): Gala Miller

If conditions are right a prescribed burn will take place on the Mt. Adams Ranger District October 7th and 8th. As a result, the public can expect to see smoke on the south side of Mt. Adams.  The prescribed burn site is located about six miles north of Trout Lake, WA and four miles south of the Mt. Adams Wilderness area within the Upper White Restoration Area. 

Prescribed fire signs will be posted at both ends of the project area to increase public awareness. It may also be necessary to temporarily close Forest Roads 8000, 8020, 8225 and/ 8040 due to limited visibility caused by smoke and to keep the public at a safe distance from the burn areas.

Smoke may be detected in the towns of Glenwood and/or Trout Lake but is not expected to travel further. There will be visible smoke in the area for several days following the burn. Signs will remain in place on roadways until the smoke has dissipated and is no longer affecting visibility.

The Upper White Salmon Restoration prescribed fire project calls for understory burning of 1,712 acres of the Upper White Restoration Area with the intent of creating a landscape more resistant and resilient to wildfire, insects, and disease. The overall project area includes four burn units that are adjacent to each other and are surrounded and separated by forest system roads.  This week staff will focus on the completion of a 293-acre portion of the project area.  The other three units will be burned over the course of the next several years.

This project is funded in part through a grant from the Washington Department of Natural Resources obtained by the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards. The U.S. Forest Service is working with the Mt. Adams Resource Stewards on this project that uses prescribed fire to mimic natural processes to restore ecosystem health and functionality and help enhance fire resiliency. 

The composition and structure of the forests in the planning area reflect a history of fire suppression and partial-cut harvest. This reduced the number of large, old trees that are resistant to wildfire and allowed the ingrowth of grand fir, creating dense forests more susceptible to insects, disease, and high severity wildfire. The project area has experienced three very large wildfires in the past fifteen years, (Cougar Creek Fire in 2015, Cascade Creek Fire in 2012, and Cold Springs Fire in 2008). The potential remains for future severe wildfires in this area, largely due to dense forests and large amounts of dead trees, branches, and needles on the forest floor that create the potential for wildfire to spread across large areas and burn at a high intensity. Treatment of these stands will increase the depth of defensible space created by Cold Springs, Cascade Creek, and Cougar Creek fires.

The expected end conditions of the overall project are a significant reduction in surface fuels, with the goal of retaining most of the live medium and large trees in the overstory, particularly large, legacy ponderosa pine. On the acres treated and burned, wildfires in the next 20 years would likely burn at low intensity, creating greater opportunity to manage wildfires within the confines of the roads surrounding these stands.


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