Fire Management
Pacific Region

Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge


A large log is removed to reduce fuel loads A brush pile is created and will be burned later Dense stands create hazardous conditions Typical forest vegetation at Little Pend Oreille


With funds generated by the National Fire Plan, Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge near Colville, Washington is removing hazardous fuel that threatens refuge infrastructure, wildlife habitat, and adjacent private lands and structures. Decades of fire suppression and harvest practices have helped create dense conifer stands. These dense stands create hazardous conditions on both Federal and private lands and structures. The project lowered risk of wildfire by thinning trees, overstocked stands and brush, and reduced the risk to these properties.

Thinning adjacent to private lands

Forest vegetation before fuels reductionBefore

Forest vegetation after fuels reductionAfter

Refuge staff and local Washington Department of Natural Resources personnel surveyed adjacent properties and identified these high hazard areas and worked with landowners to reduce the threat. Refuge staff accomplished prescribed fire and thinning projects which reduced the risk to the main office compound.


Hazardous Fuels Project - Stevens County, Washington

By restoring the forest, the US Fish and Wildlife Service is helping to reduce hazardous fuels and protect communities adjacent to the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge in Northeast Washington.

Burn piles set on fire to reduce hazardous fuels
Timber removed during thinning operations is stacked

This project is restoring Ponderosa pine forests and enhancing Aspen stands to reduce hazardous fuel along the Refuge boundary with private and state landowners.

Project Description
Started in 1998, this project has treated 1,500 acres near the communities of Starvation Lake and Colville, Washington. Project benefits are to restore the forest type to a more historical condition, reduce hazardous fuels along the refuge boundary, thus reducing the threat from wildfire, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Project activities include pre-commercial thinning, timber and pulp wood sales, slash pile and prescribed burning, wood gathering, and teepee pole gathering.

Partners include Turnbull and Mid-Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, State of Washington Airway Heights Correction Crews, Washington Conservation Corps, Curlew Job Corps, the Forest Service, and a private contractor. At least six different crews from private, state and federal agencies have been utilized.

To date 2.5 miles of fuel reduction along the Refuge boundary has been completed including prescribed fire and slash pile burning on 1,050 acres, pre-commercial thinning of 595 acres, and commercial timber harvest on 781 acres. In addition, 4.2 miles of existing refuge management access roads were improved to reduce roadside vegetation. Project completion date is 2010 with prescribed burning for maintenance to continue into the future.

A total of $125,000 has been expended to implement this project with $60,000 coming from National Fire Plan monies for pre-commercial thinning, and another $6,000 for slash pile burning.

Last updated: September 9, 2008
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