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2023 Washington Prescribed Fire Barriers Assessment Report and Strategic Action Plan

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State, federal, tribal, and local government and non-profit partners in Washington have identified that prescribed fire – fire set by trained practitioners, under specific fuel, weather, and topographic conditions to simulate natural processes – is a necessary tool to improve the health of Washington’s forest lands and natural habitats for plants and animals, as well as a tool to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and improve community resilience. Through multiple planning efforts and science- based landscape evaluations, these partners have identified that a significant increase in ecologically appropriate prescribed fire is needed to meet and maintain ecosystem health and fuels reduction goals. However, prescribed fire implementers in Washington (including public, private, and Tribal partner organizations) face barriers that prevent implementing prescribed fire at the scale necessary to meet landscape-scale goals. Previously identified common barriers to implementing prescribed fire across all- lands by Washington practitioners relate to the regulatory process, personnel training, landscape planning, burn operations, and public support for prescribed fire. In early 2023, the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) convened partners for a week- long facilitated all-lands all-hands strategic action planning workshop in Wenatchee. Workshop objectives and agendas were informed by an advisory committee, which also informed translation of workshop outcomes into this strategic action plan. During the workshop, participants discussed and identified specific barriers to implementing prescribed fire at-scale in Washington, as well as strategies and near-term actions to overcome identified barriers. This strategic action plan presents a barriers assessment and strategic action plan to serve as a common starting point for DNR and other prescribed fire partners’ future planning efforts to meet our shared stewardship goals. This document lays out collectively identified goals, strategies, and near-term actions that emerged from the workshop; it is not meant to be all-inclusive but highlights potential solutions. The plan includes five goals relating to regulations, training, landscape-level planning, burn operations, and public engagement respectively, as well as strategies supporting each goal. DNR intends to utilize this plan to inform programmatic work planning for the next biennium and aid in identifying agency prescribed fire objectives within a related DNR strategic plan. The goals and strategies are also intended to be a resource for DNR’s partners as they define their own organizational goals and objectives as they relate to collaborative prescribed fire planning and implementation. The plan recommends over 60 near-term actions for an 18-month period, beginning in summer 2023 through the end of 2024. The Washington Prescribed Fire Council (WPFC) will facilitate a process for organizations to identify near-term actions they can adopt, including identification of actions individual organizations can lead on and/or financially support. WPFC will develop and maintain a living implementation plan to track assignments and progress on the recommended near-term actions. While some financial resources exist for the implementation of certain action items, it is expected that additional public and private funding will be required to implement the full plan.


DNR WA. 2023 Washington Prescribed Fire Barriers Assessment Report and Strategic Action Plan.; 2023. Available from:…

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