Trout Lake, Washington is one of the gateway towns to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The town of about 1000 residents is surrounded by forest lands and is a Wildland Urban Interface Community (WUI). The Trout Lake fuels reduction project started in 2004 with the development of the Trout Lake Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). To help the project along, in 2006 Trout Lake applied for a National Fire Plan Grant, and received funding in 2007. Project implementation will begin June of 2008.

Trout Lake Fuels Reduction

The Trout Lake plan reduces the risk of wildfire in two ways. First, a 12-mile shaded fuel break along the southwest side of Trout Lake will provide protection to the community in the event of an approaching wildland fire. Second, the project will educate homeowners and neighborhoods on the benefits of creating defensible space by reducing fuels around their homes. Treatment includes thinning, pruning and chipping performed by a Northwest Service Academy AmeriCorps Team. Some of the chips and other woody materials from the project will be used for landscaping, post and poles and firewood. The vegetation in the project area consists of dense timber stands mostly of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir with a heavy brush component.

Expected results at completion of the project include shaded fuel breaks in strategically located areas surrounding Trout Lake. The shaded fuel break strategy provides for firefighter safety by creating a defensible area to work from, reducing roadside ignition from forest visitors, reducing fuel loads and improving emergency vehicle access. Also, this project has an additional benefit of providing jobs within the local community.

The CWPP is supported by Trout Lake businesses, organizations, community residents and its Community Council. Project partners include, Underwood Conservation District, Mt. Adams Resource Stewards, Gifford Pinchot National Forest – Mt. Adams Ranger District, SDS Lumber Company, Washington State University Cooperative Extension, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources, Northwest Service Academy – AmeriCorps, Klickitat County Commissioners, and the local fire department.

For more information, contact Nancy Ryke, District Ranger, Mt. Adams Ranger District, at nryke@fs.fed.us, or Carter Davis, CWPP Project Manager, Northwest Service Academy/AmeriCorps, at carter.davis@esd112.org.