Cle Elum, WA - Winter logging operations have begun in Lion Gulch near Liberty as part of the Liberty Wildland Urban Interface Fuels Reduction Project. The Lion Gulch area is part of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest in Washington state.
Logging operations and log trucks will be working Monday-Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. The road will be plowed for log trucks but enough snow will be left on the road to allow continued snowmobile use. The road will remain closed to all other wheeled vehicles.
Snowmobilers are urged to use extreme caution when riding on FS Road 9712 as they will likely encounter log truck traffic during the week. The logging is expected to last through February.
The need for the fuels reduction project came from unnaturally extreme fire conditions in the Liberty area and are the result of a century of well-intended fire suppression practices that have allowed fuels to build to unacceptable levels. This project is a step toward returning the area to a healthy condition and will create fuel breaks by commercially thinning approximately 1,310 acres, opening the forest cover and reducing fuels. The focus of thinning will be on smaller diameter trees. In the planned fuel breaks, fuels will be reduced using a variety of means, including hand- and machine-piling and burning piles, and/or underburning.
For more information, call the Cle Elum Ranger District at (509) 852-1100.