WDFW plans prescribed burns on wildlife areas in South Puget Sound region

News release

Bill Kronland, 360-701-5145
Media contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be conducting prescribed burns to restore prairie habitat on two wildlife area units in Thurston County starting as early as June 17.

The burns are scheduled for the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area unit northeast of Rochester and the West Rocky Prairie Wildlife Area unit northwest of Tenino and will be conducted for up to seven days through mid-October. Weather dependent, burn operations will target small areas from 7 to 20 acres.

“To accomplish stewardship of rare prairie habitats, access to portions of the wildlife areas may be restricted during the burns for public safety and people may see smoke from the fires for one to two hours after operations have stopped,” said Bill Kronland, WDFW Wildlife Area Manager. “Signs will be posted to alert the public of active burn operations, and we will be working to minimize smoke impacts to the surrounding community.”

WDFW works cooperatively with Washington Department of Natural Resources, fire districts, and other partners while utilizing professional fire crews that are experienced in conducting prescribed burns on public and private lands in south Puget Sound.

Kronland said the department uses prescribed fire to maintain native grassland habitats, also known as prairies, and to control invasive weeds before seeding and planting native species.

Puget lowland 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. The Scatter Creek Wildlife Area is part of an integrated system of conservation lands managed to conserve and restore this rare ecosystem.

WDFW manages more than a million acres of land and hundreds of water access areas throughout the state. By actively managing lands, restoring habitats, and preserving wild places, the Department serves as stewards for Washington’s natural places, protecting the state’s land and water for its wildlife and people. 

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-885-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.