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Wenatchee, Washington--(March 26, 2021)--This spring, firefighters across Central Washington will once again be putting good fire to work to help restore watersheds and better protect nearby communities. Frequent, low-intensity fire is essential for restoring public lands and the communities who depend on them.

“As snow melts and access opens to burn units, we will be taking advantage of favorable weather conditions to start prescribed burning where we can safely do so. No one knows what the fire season may bring, so it is important for us to be proactive when we have these springtime burning opportunities,” said Forest Fire Management Officer Rob Allen.

Just over 9,500 acres of prescribed burning is planned this spring, but not all planned acres may be completed if conditions are not favorable. Conditions include correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture, and ventilation for smoke. When these criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals including air quality.

“These prescribed fire projects reduce the amount of burnable fuels in the forest, improve forest health, and help lower the risk of future high-intensity wildfires that are more likely to bring dense smoke and impact access to and use of the forest,” Allen said.

Residents and visitors can expect to see and smell some smoke during burning operations. Even though smoke from prescribed fire is usually light and doesn’t last long, it is important that smoke-sensitive individuals plan ahead and be prepared. For more information on smoke and public health, please visit wasmoke.blogspot.com or airnow.gov/fires.

nps logo smChelan—Early season snow grooming operations have begun at Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area on the Chelan Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Ski area personnel are working to establish a good snow base for future grooming operations.  Skiers should expect typical early season conditions with varying snow depths, soft snow, and the possibility of bare spots as temperatures warm up later in the week. 

Grooming will occur on an intermittent basis.  Fees will not be charged over the Thanksgiving weekend due to the thin snow cover and variable ski conditions. Ski area personnel will continue to monitor ski conditions and determine when the fee season will begin.

In conjunction with the start of snow grooming at Echo Ridge, beginning today Purtteman Gulch Road No. 8010 will be closed to wheeled vehicles and snowmobiles to provide for Nordic grooming activities. 

When fees are charged, ski passes are required for both ski and snowshoe trail use.  Day passes are available on-site for $10 per adult, with no charge for skiers or snowshoers age 17 and under.  Season passes are available for $70 at the Chelan Ranger District office. 

All trailheads in the Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area are plowed and open for parking.  Echo Ridge Nordic Ski Area is located 10 miles outside of the city of Chelan and is managed as a cooperative effort between the U.S. Forest Service and Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club.

For current grooming information go online to www.lakecheleannordic.org or contact the Chelan Ranger District office at (509) 682-4900.  The Chelan Ranger District office is located at 428 West Woodin Avenue in Chelan with office hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.