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Prescribed burning could begin this week

— Fall prescribed burning in the Methow Valley Ranger District could begin as early as this week.

“We may work on some hand-pile burning in limited areas between now and Thursday depending on conditions,” Meg Trebon, assistant fire management officer for fuels, said Monday. “No burning will occur this weekend.”

Trebon said the weather needs to dry out before any underburning begins.

“The recent wet weather and relatively low fire danger at higher elevation of the forest have us considering beginning fall burning a little earlier this year,” “There are a few burn units in the Twisp River and Fawn Creek drainages where conditions may be within prescription as early as next week.”

Fire suppression, fire rehabilitation, and extremely dry conditions have kept the Methow Valley Ranger District from accomplishing much of its annual burn program during the last two fall seasons. But this year, moisture levels are higher and some of the high elevation forested areas are wet enough to start a couple of weeks early.

Until Oct. 1, firefighters will limit initiating prescribed burns to Monday through Thursday. In addition, each day before burning, fuels specialists evaluate air quality impacts to determine whether burning can occur. If conditions are right, fire officials will request permission to proceed from the state Department of Natural Resources.

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