Forest Health Hazard Warning

In 2012, then-Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark issued a Forest Health Hazard Warning under Washington State Law RCW 76.06 for the areas of Okanogan/Ferry Counties and Klickitat/Yakima Counties. Since then, under the leadership of Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources spearheaded a 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan to restore forest health and reduce severe wildfires in Eastern and Central Washington, as well as a statewide Wildland Fire Protection 10-Year Strategic Plan
Over the last several decades, Washington forests in Central and Eastern Washington have experienced a doubling of the acres damaged each year by insects and diseases. The Forest Health Hazard Warning called attention to areas of emerging damage and susceptible forest conditions, and helped coordinate timely actions to address the situation. A technical advisory committee evaluated risks in these forests to recommend high priority areas for the warning.
Action is needed by all forest landowners (state, private, tribal and federal) to change the forest conditions that promote large insect outbreaks. This begins with getting help from a forester to assess risks. Carefully planned thinning and harvest activities can reduce both the hazard for insect outbreaks and extreme wildfires. In some cases, these actions can generate revenue for landowners, while in other cases, they may mostly involve small tree thinning. Today, DNR coordinates with landowners on forest health restoration projects, including thinning and prescribed burning, in high priority areas under the 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan. 
All actions are voluntary on the part of the affected landowners and land managers.
This problem has been building over a long period of time, and it will take time to address. However, with the concerted efforts of all landowners, we can improve the health of forests in Central and Eastern Washington.

Landowner Assistance

Cost-share funding is available for forest landowners to improve forest health.
Thinning dense forests is the best way to protect your forest from severe insect or wildfire damage. Cost-share funding is available to reimburse landowners for the cost of thinning their forest to improve forest health. DNR Landowner Assistance Foresters can help landowners assess their forest, determine which management practices can reduce the risk of damage from insects and wildfire, and enroll landowners in the cost-share program.
For more information, visit the Eastern Washington Forest Landowner Cost-Share Page.
To directly apply for cost-share practices, you can download and mail a cost-share application. Or fill out an online cost-share application.

How do I know if I have a forest health problem & what can I do?

Depending on the area your property is in, the Forest Health Hazard Warnings were issued for two major forest pests: western spruce budworm and pine bark beetles. There are many other forest health issues present in the warning areas, but these two major pests comprise the majority of the damage observed each year.
Here are a few warning signs & options to click that will help guide you getting started:

Who do I contact for more information & assistance concerning forest health issues with my forestland?

If you need assistance, please give us a call at 360-902-1300, email, or visit DNR's Forest Health and Resiliency Division page
For more information about the Forest Health Hazard Warning, view these Resources & Links.

Federal Civil Rights
In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, DNR does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. However, should a person wish to file a discrimination complaint, please write to:
USDA, Director
Office of Civil Rights

Room 326-W, Whitten Building
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Washington D.C. 20250-9410
or call 202.720.5964 (voice and TDD).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.