This pilot means progress.
With recent record-breaking years of megafire, and devastated communities across the state, it’s not surprising that fire is on lawmakers’ minds. In the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers explored tools for creating more fire-resilient forests, including the passage of House Bill 2928, the Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot project. The bill provides funding for prescribed fire on at-risk forests, as well as an exploration of current barriers to expanding the role of controlled fire in creating and maintaining fire-resilient forests.
We’re proud to say the Washington Prescribed Fire Council and our partner organizations are at the heart of this landmark effort to expand the use of prescribed fire, reduce megafire risk to communities and restore Washington's forests and streams.
Clearing the Air
Clean air is important, and no one likes smoke. Even small amounts can be harmful to people with sensitive health, including infants, people over 65, and those with heart and lung disease.
But the reality is that we live in a fire-dependent landscape where smoke is inevitable.
We must encourage public awareness of controlled fire. It is effective, predictable and safer than wildfire. And prescribed burn teams actively work with air quality regulators to minimize smoke levels near populated areas.
Prescribed fire is essential for healthy forests and can help reduce (though not eliminate) heavy smoke exposure and other risks from wildfire. Prescribed fire is what Washington needs now — and our lawmakers agree.
Good Fire Gets Recognized
Over the next two years, the pilot directs the Department of Natural Resources to work closely with the Prescribed Fire Council, Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative and the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition to:
- talk about forest resiliency and the restorative role of controlled burning
- encourage successful completion of planned burns by giving approval on burn permits a minimum of 24 hours in advance of a planned burn, and make it easier to complete multi-day burns
- monitor how much smoke was planned for and ultimately created by forest resiliency burning
- track outcomes and make recommendations for potential updates to the DNR Smoke Management Plan
Complete Info on Pilot Partners + Burns
Collaboration is Key
Washington Prescribed Fire Council is a collaborative group working to protect, conserve and expand the safe use of prescribed fire in our state.
We are grateful to our over 50 member organizations and many committed partners who helped make the Forest Resiliency Burning Pilot a reality. In alignment with our mission and work over the last five years, one of the Council's main roles in the pilot will be opening up lines of communication between the public and fire teams about how controlled burning works, and why it matters. Together, we are putting fire to work for Washington.