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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

In brief: ‘Good fires’ being set intentionally on forests

Prescribed fire helps restore the forest and remove unhealthy woody fuel build-up near Naches in this 2016 photo on the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest. (Jason Emhoff / U.S. FOREST SERVICE)
Prescribed fire helps restore the forest and remove unhealthy woody fuel build-up near Naches in this 2016 photo on the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest. (Jason Emhoff / U.S. FOREST SERVICE)

FORESTS – Only weeks after the region’s fire hazard dropped from extreme, national forests and other land mangers in the region are igniting controlled fires in some areas as a step toward minimizing the impact of fires next year.

Fire managers on the Idaho Panhandle and Okanogan-Wenatchee national forests plan to conduct prescribed burning across multiple ranger districts in the next few weeks.

“The planned burning will include a combination of piles, harvest residue, and undergrowth,” said Shoshana Cooper, Panhandle spokeswoman.

Decision to burn will be dependent on a “burn window” based on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality, weather forecasts and available resources, she said in a release.

“Prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems,” she said. “These fires mimic natural fires by reducing forest fuels, recycling nutrients, and increasing habitat diversity. Each prescribed burn is designed to meet specific objectives.”

Spokane Falls dewatered during dam maintenance

RIVERS The “aesthetic spill” that keeps Spokane Falls flowing during summer and early fall will be stopped next week for dam maintenance.

Avista will be performing general maintenance and inspections at its Upper Falls Dam and Monroe Street Dam in downtown Spokane Sunday through Wednesday, the company said in a release. The spill will stop at Upper Falls dam as its reservoir in Riverfront Park will be drawn down 3 feet.

The spills at Monroe Street Dam will be stopped from Sunday through Monday.

“Avista’s fisheries staff will relocate any fish that become trapped or stranded during the projects,” the company said. “For safety purposes, the public should not enter the Upper Falls channels when the aesthetic spills are stopped.”

The aesthetic spills at Monroe Street will also be stopped Sunday until Monday evening to allow for inspection of the Monroe Street Dam.

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