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Washington Lights Big Burns For Forest Health

Firefighters lit off two prescribed fires Thursday in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in central Washington state. It’s part of a wider $800,000 state pilot project to prevent huge fires like the Carlton Complex two years ago.

In the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, about 8,000-acres will be burned -- thousands more than usual. It will stretch from near Naches north to the Canadian border and east to the Colville National Forest.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Holly Krake said the more they can clean out the built-up forest litter and brush, “the less likely we are to have the damaging mega-fires that we’ve seen in this area in the past several years because that material is simply not there and available and ready to burn.”

Krake said the upside to all this prescribed fire is more huckleberries and edible mushrooms.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.