Local mushroom foragers flocking to find fungi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Local mushroom foragers flocking to find fungi

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Finding morel mushrooms takes skill and knowledge. Finding morel mushrooms takes skill and knowledge.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

It’s a mad dash for morel mushrooms and foragers are flocking for the fungi.

They pop up in areas that have been burned, but while you may know where to look for them, finding them takes a lot more skill.

Josh Yake is out near where the Carpenter Road fire burned looking for morels, but it’s a bit of a different year. Last year, millions of acres burned and now there are lots of different places to forage for morel mushrooms.

“We're seeing mushrooms in the last week in record numbers just because of the record wildfires,” Yake says.

Yake is known as the mushroom guy, and he forages for a lot more than just mushrooms. For morels, he says “the best time to hit the burns are the year immediately following the wildfire.”

The difficult part is the morels blend in easily.

“It's like an adult Easter egg hunt,” he says.

The conditions have to be just right for the morels to grow. That means filtered light and the ground has to be just damp enough.

“Kind of think like a mushroom,” Yake suggests. “Where’s the water? Where’s the cool spots?”

But that doesn't mean you'll find a morel. It does come down to experience to know where to look.

“You just got to have the eye,” he says.

That’s something that will help this year. Yake says he’s seen more people out and about looking for them than he’s ever seen, chasing the burns. He says in certain burns, people are filling truckloads full of morels. There’s also a small amount of time you can find these morels because once the ground dries, it’s too late.

“It’s a scramble,” he says. “If you don't get them you miss out!”

It’s not just the taste that sets these fungi apart.

“If you could grow them it wouldn't be as cool,” Josh says about foraging. “It's part of the experience and if this part wasn't there, it'd just be another mushroom.”

Before you go out to find morels, you should educate yourself. There are certain mushrooms you shouldn’t eat and there are permit requirements and rules if you go into an area managed by the U.S. Forest Service or another agency.

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