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Forestry

Fall 2011

Video: Valley View Fires of 2008 and Firewise Community

In 2008, the Valley View fire in the Dishman Hills outside of Spokane burned 13 homes and 1,200 acres. A number of homes survived because residents applied Firewise principles to protect their residences. In this video produced by the Spokane County Conservation District, some of those residents discuss the fire, how they prepared their homes, and what happened during the blaze.

Length: 19 minutes, 21 seconds.

Courtesy Spokane County Conservation District. 

Read more about wildfires and communities in “When wildfire comes to town.”

Fall 2011

Seeing the trees

At the south end of Whidbey Island, off a tree-lined road, Linda Kast ’75 pulls her station wagon up to a gate and jumps out. She opens her hatchback and extracts a thick folder containing maps, a history, and an inventory of her small wooded acreage.

As she leafs through it she explains that she bought this 11-acre forest nine years ago in memory of land her family used to own and regularly visit on Whidbey when she was a child growing up in Seattle.

At the time she bought the property, Kast signed up for a forest stewardship class with Washington State University. Her … » More …

Fall 2011

When wildfire comes to town

Flames ripped through the pines and brush in the Dishman Hills west of Spokane Valley in July 2008, just as they’ve done for thousands of years. A dry wind pushed the fire up a hill, hotter and faster, and straight into a new development of expensive homes, destroying 13 of them and burning 1,200 acres.

The wildfire’s destruction was not surprising or unexpected. But the number of homes and residents who survived the blaze serves as a testament to smart planning, an awareness of inevitable fires, and research into the interaction of fire-prone wildlands and the growing number of people who live near them.

Although … » More …

Winter 2005

Magpie Forest: Protecting a piece of the past

Magpie Forest is like something out of the Wizard of Oz, a strange green land in the middle of a field.

Nestled in a 33-acre parcel of wheat north of Pullman, the 14-acre tract is a remnant of the original Palouse prairie. Last spring, Washington State University purchased the property from a local landowner to protect it from being developed.

Accessible only through a network of game trails, the spot is covered with hawthorn thickets, quaking aspen, mountain ash, and native shrubs, grasses, and flowering plants. The University hopes to upgrade these trails and encourage people to visit the property. Plans for an access road … » More …

Fall 2007

Trees return to Ireland

Once upon a time, Ireland was mostly forest. In prehistoric and early historic times, trees covered an estimated 90-95 percent of the landscape. But English invasions, rebellions, and industrial demands moved the landscape toward its modern austere treelessness.

A hundred years ago, barely 1 percent of Ireland was forested. Now forest has reclaimed 10 percent of the landscape, and the Irish government would like to raise that coverage to 17 percent. Toward that goal, it has mounted a reforestation campaign, backed by a program of grants to landowners to plant trees. Trouble is, the Irish haven’t been used to seeing forest as part of their … » More …