Skokomish Prairie Restoration Prescribed Burn Possible
The objective of the Skokomish Prairie Restoration Prescribed Fire is to restore the bear grass savannah ecosystem. This will be accomplished through a series of experimental burns that will occur at various intervals within the burn unit. Prescribed fires are planned ignitions that are executed only when environmental factors such as wind, temperatures, and fuel moisture levels are within a favorable window to achieve the desired results.
Washington’s rare west side prairie ecosystems were traditionally maintained by Native Americans through periodic low intensity burns that provided culturally important plants and animals. An estimated 160,000 acres of prairie existed in south Puget Sound but European settlement halted tribal burning in the mid-1800s. Since then, the grasslands have become encroached upon by coniferous forests. Currently, only 20,000 acres of prairie remain. This burn unit is the last remaining prairie on Olympic Peninsula federal lands.
Resources expected to assist with this prescribed fire include three engines, ten firefighters, and numerous support personnel. Cooperators include the Skokomish Tribe, Olympic National Park, and the Center for Natural Lands Management. Smoke impacts may be possible in adjacent areas while the burn is in progress. Smoke impacts may also occur at night and in the early morning hours, since smoke settles when the air temperature cools and lifts during daylight hours. No closures are anticipated at this time. For additional information, please contact the Hood Canal Ranger District at 360-765-2200.
The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For general information on the Olympic National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/olympic