Landowners affected by the fires may continue to struggle with post-fire impacts and rehabilitation on their properties. Landowners are encouraged to walk their properties to assess the damages and potential risks. Potential problems resulting from fires may include:
- Safety issues along property boundaries, roads and buildings
- Significant increase in sediment delivery to stream channels
- Surface and gully erosion on slopes and possible debris flows down draws
- Loss of vegetation and forest cover, which reduces grazing for livestock and wildlife, degrades habitat, and increases the risk of weed infestations
- Hazards from insect infestations in the fire-killed and fire-stressed trees
When walking your property, look for items that could plug stream channels and/or culverts, particularly at road crossings. Keep in mind that things that don’t normally float (concrete blocks, barbecues, propane tanks, lawn furniture, potted plants, etc.) can float in a flash flood or debris flow. Additional runoff may cause channels to shift, creating additional erosion.
- Check for and remove debris in and near draws and in and near culverts. This includes rocks, grass clippings, decking, structures, vegetation, and fences across draws.
- Secure and/or anchor all possible outdoor items. Move lawn furniture, barbecues, propane tanks, pool covers, and other items to inside.
- Stream work and salvage removal may require special permitting. Please contact the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Fish and Wildlife for more information.
It may be difficult to visualize the rebirth of a forest or rangeland following a wildfire. However, nature is well equipped for regenerating some fire-resistant species such as ponderosa pines and shrub-steppe species. You may already notice some grasses and plants recovering on the landscape. Revegetation of burned areas is also critical for restoring the health of the ecosystem. Some possible treatments include:
- Grass seeding (quick establishment, weed suppression, and forage)
- Forest tree planting (primarily ponderosa pine)
- Riparian plantings along stream corridors
The NRCS staff are available to assist with site-specific questions and can provide assistance for landowners as they begin to restore the landscape following the fire. Please contact the Wenatchee Field Office at (509) 664-9370 for more information.