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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Aerial elk surveys to begin in Blue Mountains

From staff reports

From staff reports

Wildlife officials are going to be flying over the foothills of the Blue Mountains over the next few weeks to check on the range’s elk population.

Staci Lehman, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said in an email that the agency’s annual spring elk surveys would begin in early march and continue for about two weeks.

During that time, people can expect to see low-flying aircraft in the area.

The renowned Blue Mountains elk population has struggled in recent years.

The Lewiston Tribune reported last fall that the population was about 25% below WDFW’s 5,500 animal goal following harsh winter conditions that hampered calf survival.

Prescribed burns planned for Eastern Washington wildlife areas

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning prescribed burns for a handful of its wildlife areas in Eastern Washington this month.

WDFW said in a news release that the plans call for burning 660 acres across three wildlife areas .

About 250 acres will be burned at Rustlers Gulch Wildlife Area in Pend Oreille County, about 20 miles west of Newport.

At Methow Wildlife Area in Okanogan County, about 110 acres will be burned.

Another 300 acres are scheduled to be burned at the LT Murray Wildlife Area in Kittitas County.

The fires are meant to protect wildlife habitat and public safety, and WDFW conducts burns every spring and fall.

WDFW Prescribed Fire Manager Matt Eberlein said in the release that winter conditions are allowing the agency to begin the burns earlier than usual, and to get the work done before wildfire season begins.

Signs will be posted in advance of the fires, according to the release, but people will notice smoke and visibility may be an issue.

More burns could be announced later if conditions allow.