Contact: Bill Kronland, 360-701-5145
Media contact: Eryn Couch, 360-890-6604
OLYMPIA – Starting as soon as Monday, Aug. 22, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will conduct controlled burns to restore prairie habitat on two wildlife area units in Thurston County.
The burns are weather dependent and scheduled for up to five days through mid-October at the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area Unit northeast of Rochester and the West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area Unit northwest of Tenino. The areas targeted for burning are small, varying in size from one to 10 acres.
“Portions of the wildlife areas may be closed during the burns, and people may see smoke from the fires for one to two hours after operations have stopped,” said Bill Kronland, WDFW wildlife area manager. “We will be working to minimize smoke impacts to the surrounding community.”
WDFW works cooperatively with Washington State Department of Natural Resources, fire districts and other partners while using professional fire crews experienced in conducting controlled burns on public and private lands in south Puget Sound.
Kronland said WDFW uses prescribed fire to maintain native grassland habitats, also known as prairies, and control invasive weeds before seeding and planting native species.
Westside prairies are one of the rarest ecosystems in Washington and have been reduced to less than 3% of their former area. They support several rare plants and animals, including birds, mammals and butterflies, some of which are listed as threatened or endangered, as well as First Foods, including camas lily.
WDFW works to preserve, protect and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.