Fire managers at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are planning to conduct pile burns near the upper East Fork of Major Creek in Klickitat County, Wash., this month.
The piles of woody and vegetative material come from thinning and vegetation management activities conducted in recent years to remove flammable natural fuels from the landscape. Each burn is the culmination of years of planning and preparation. Thinning helps fire managers reduce the threat and intensity of wildfires and restores a forest structure in which large, widely-spaced pine and oak trees dominate the landscape.
The actual day of ignition for the pile burning projects depends on moisture levels of understory vegetation. Burns only occur on days when the Washington State Smoke Management Office indicates suitable weather conditions for smoke dispersal are present.
Smoke may be visible in surrounding communities, and piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Where necessary, motorists should reduce speeds and turn on headlights.
If unsure whether smoke or a fire is from a planned pile burn, citizens can contact their local fire department or the National Scenic Area at 541-308-1700.
For updates on the planned pile burning, follow the National Scenic Area’s social media accounts at facebook.com/crgnsa or www.twitter.com/crgnsa. Learn more about Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area at www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa.