WDFW plans prescribed fires on Eastern Washington wildlife areas

News release

Matt Eberlein, Prescribed Fire Manager, (509) 429-4236
Staci Lehman, Communications, (509) 710-4511

SPOKANE- Annual prescribed fires on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)-managed lands in Eastern Washington are scheduled to start in March, as conditions allow. Prescribed fires on WDFW wildlife areas reduce the risk of future wildfires, reduce the severity of wildfires when they do happen, restore forest health, and improve wildlife habitat.

“The mild conditions this winter allow us to begin burning earlier than usual on WDFW-managed lands, and this is a good time to reduce hazardous fire conditions before the wildfire season starts,” said WDFW Prescribed Fire Manager Matt Eberlein. “Prescribed fires are monitored continuously until they are out, with public safety a primary concern.”
WDFW conducts prescribed fires every spring and fall, as appropriate, on public lands the Department manages statewide. With WDFW-managed lands often located close to communities, prescribed fire is particularly important to protect both wildlife habitat and public safety.

While the results of prescribed burning include increased public safety, a more fire-resilient landscape, and an improved experience for those who use public lands, these fires can be an inconvenience to the public while they are underway, particularly during hunting seasons. Unfortunately, there is a small window of time when prescribed burns can be conducted when the weather is cool but not too wet.

“The areas slated for prescribed fire this spring are limited to portions of wildlife areas, leaving hundreds or thousands more acres for public access,” said Eberlein. 

WDFW is planning to treat approximately 660 acres of Eastern Washington wildlife areas with prescribed fire by the end of the 2024 spring season. Fires in the following areas may begin in March:

Additional burns on WDFW-managed Eastern Washington lands could be announced if conditions allow. Signs are posted in advance of all prescribed fires to inform recreationists, but smoke and visibility can still be an issue.

Please watch for fire personnel or equipment and slow down if you experience reduced visibility while driving.

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 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.