On the rugged slopes above Lake Chelan, approximately 62 percent of the 2017 Uno Peak Fire burned hot; hot enough to limit how effectively thousands of acres of soil can absorb rain or snow melt, hot enough to create threats to life and safety at the outflow of Safety Harbor Creek from projected flows.
With these risks in mind, a barge will soon be hauling large metal ‘wing defectors’ to the campground there to redirect any debris flows away from recreation facilities. Across the Forest, similar work is also being planned to address critical road, trail, invasive plant, water quality, and other issues that exist on each fire.
“Now that post-fire assessments and mapping are complete, we are targeting the specific areas of the Forest that pose the greatest post-fire risks” said US Forest Service Hydrologist Molly Hanson. “Work on the ground is starting now and could last until next fall.”
Far to the south, only 16 percent of the Jolly Mountain Fire burned at a moderate or high intensity and emergency response efforts there will focus on erosion control for approximately nine miles of Forest roads and trails.
Key Emergency Response Treatment Efforts:
- Diamond Creek Fire: 45 miles of road/trail drainage, signage and invasive plants
- Jack Creek Fire: 3 miles of trail drainage, signage and invasive plants
- Jolly Mountain Fire: 9 miles of road/trail drainage, dispersed camping barriers
- Norse Peak Fire: 67 miles of road/trail drainage, signage and invasive plants
- Uno Peak Fire: 9 miles of road/trail drainage, dock removal and wing defectors
“Wildfires and post-fire risks have always and will always be with us in central Washington” added Hanson. “Together with our partners, we will continue to adapt to living safely in dry, fire adapted forests.”
She encouraged landowners to work directly with the Natural Resources Conservations Service (NRCS) and other agencies to determine appropriate actions needed to protect their property. Even after prescribed treatments are implemented to minimize the post-fire threats, the burned areas may still pose a risk to adjacent areas from potential mudslides and flooding.
Residents living near burned areas are encouraged to monitor weather reports and public safety bulletins, and be aware of current weather conditions and forecasts.
BAER information available is at: centralwashingtonfirerecovery.info
(By Holly Krake, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest)