SPOKANE, Wash - Temperatures are cooling down, and there's good news for people who want to get outside and enjoy it. But it is still wildfire season. Thursday, state officials are set to announce the reopening of more than two million acres of public land in eastern Washington and address the 2021 fire season.
This comes on the tail of President Biden's visit to Boise Monday citing wildfires burning across the west coast as the reason behind his 3-point-5 trillion-dollar rebuilding plans.
Firefighters have battled over 1700 fires burning 650,000 acres across Washington according to the DNR.
DNR lands were closed off in June but now as weather is improving, they are reopening at the end of this week, perfect timing for hunting season.
We have had record heat and drought conditions which have fueled fires like the Ford Corkscrew Fire that destroyed thousands of acres and caused bad air quality across the region, but now as the weather improves, that signals the end of wildfire season.
Although DNR lands are reopening at the end of this week, there is still a burn ban in effect. Meaning fires or campfires aren't allowed. Nor are personal camp stoves, smoking, or shooting firearms for target practice rather than hunting.
President Biden using the fires on the west coast to push forward his rebuilding agenda.
"Hurricanes in the gulf coast and up the eastern seaboard wildfires threatening the west coast drought and heatwaves across the country devastating farmers and ranchers and draining the Colorado river our by partisan infrastructure bill contains the largest federal investment in power transmission in our history," he said.
The burn ban is in effect until the end of this month.
Also happening Wednesday, some much-needed info for landowners impacted by wildfires in eastern and central Washington.
Wednesday night, foresters are helping people who lost everything to wildfire and who don't know what to do after wildfire destroys their property.
It's important to note wildfires not only destroy homes, but hundreds of acres of land with trees and other important vegetation. Although it may not hold as man memories, it could mean cash value lost.
"Sadly, there have been a few fires in the northeast and in eastern Washington that have really blown up and impacted quite a few landowners," Sean Alexander, a Northeastern Washington Regional Extension Forester for WSU said.
The webinar is not going to be focused on homes or structures but destroyed lands. Because fires burn away vegetation it could mean erosion of soil leading to small landslides, flooding, even flash floods as we get more rain in.
Besides that, some folks make a profit with wood production or at least get a tax break if their land is marked as designated forest land. Knowing how to keep trees and plant more, is important in keeping that cash flow.
"A lot of people have put a lot of time and money. If you think about all the taxes that people are paying to maintain those. Maybe they've put money into doing a thinning, or maybe they've put money into doing a tree planting process. And maybe this is something it's not about money, maybe it's a generational thing. And they've been passing that property down for generations through their family. And now that, sadly, is lost, and they don't have that source anymore," he said. "But hopefully we can add a tool in the tool basket for them in their recovery.">
Now, they are currently working on what's called a "bark map" which looks at fire severity. Basically, it sees how much vegetation was burned up in fires like the Ford Corkscrew Fire.
Again, the webinar is Wednesday from 6 to 8:30.
Here is the link: https://forestry.wsu.edu/classes-and-events/