The Redmond Interagency Hotshot crew often works with U.S. Forest Service Ranger Districts and their cooperators to accomplish spring burning objectives. This spring, the Redmond Hotshots assisted with several successful burns near Orient, Washington. The Colville National Forest and agency cooperators benefited from this interagency effort.

Fire backing slowly down to a road near private residences

The Redmond Interagency Hotshot Crew develops elite fire managers and leaders in the Pacific Northwest. Between April and mid-May, the Redmond Hotshots offer prescribed burning assistance to Region 6 National Forests. Spring is often the best time for burning due to favorable fuel and weather conditions, but it can be difficult to gather sufficient resources to execute complicated urban interface burns so early in the season. So, the Redmond Hotshots provide a skilled, flexible and readily available workforce. Hotshot crewmembers also benefit from on-the-job experience with prescribed wildland fire.

In May 2008, the Redmond Hotshots assisted the Colville National Forest with a complicated urban interface burn as part of the Orient Wildland Urban Interface Project. Orient lies 20 miles north of Kettle Falls, Washington. Forest Service lands abut many private residences in the area, creating a potentially volatile situation along the wildland-urban interface. The forest consists of a mix of ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir and western larch. Trees in the wildland urban interface are overstocked and susceptible to stand-replacement fires. Vegetation growth and urban development are placing more citizens and property at risk. Fuels reduction treatments are aimed at decreasing the intensity of surface fire behavior and minimizing the potential for high-intensity crown fires.

The Colville Community Forestry Coalition helped identify areas surrounding the community of Orient as priority for fuels reduction. Colville NF fire personnel constructed fire lines and installed hose lays near residences to protect them. Redmond Hotshots worked with them to carry out the burn. The combined interagency effort led to a successful, safe and timely project.

For more information contact Mike Muehlbauer, Redmond IHC at 541-504-7351 or at mmuehlbauer@fs.fed.us.