[1/16/17] Thinning Proposed On McClure Mountain In Methow Valley
Winthrop, WA — Emergency Communication is critical to the safety of first responders and the public. Due to its strategic location, McClure Mountain is the primary communication hub for the majority of emergency and non-emergency communication within the Methow Valley and it has been identified as a key communication infrastructure by the long-term fire recovery group. To protect that investment, and to improve the resiliency of the surrounding forest, the Forest Service is proposing about 300 acres of thinning and prescribed burning treatments near the communication site south of Twisp, Washington
The District is seeking input on their proposal to reduce ladder fuels by thinning, piling and burning them. After decades of fire suppression, smaller trees and shrubs have grown in around the large older trees. During a fire, these smaller trees and shrubs would provide a ladder for flames to climb to the top of the older trees; leading to crown fire that cannot be effectively suppressed by ground resources. In addition to the ladder fuels, recent impacts from insects and disease have killed or stressed trees near the communication site. These dead or dying trees can increase the potential for extreme fire behavior. The existing conditions put the communication infrastructure on McClure Mountain at risk and create concerns for firefighter safety and existing wildlife habitat.