It’s that time of year when fall prescribed burning takes place in the Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest.  

People may see smoke in various areas of the forest beginning as early as Monday if weather conditions are favorable.  

There are plans to do a combination of under-burning and hand pile burning across more than 12,000 acres.  

National Forest spokesperson Robin DeMario says hand pile burning involves gathering underbrush into a pile to burn while under-burning is more widespread. 

"The under-burning program is where we ignite ground fuels, and the fire then gently spreads across the forest floor in the direction that we want it to go," said DeMario. 

Smoke will be very visible during the burns to people traveling along Highway 97, and will also be seen at times from Manson, Chelan, Entiat, Cashmere, and Wenatchee. 

DeMario says controlled burns are perfectly safe for the trees in the forest. 

"It's not like a wildfire where everything catches fire," DeMario said. "We try to keep it to the ground so that it's consuming the fuels on the forest floor." 

Prescribed burns in the Echo Ridge area could be visible in Manson and Chelan. Smoke could also be visible in parts of Wenatchee from prescribed burns in the Beehive area, which is eight miles southwest of town along Forest Road 9712 off of Mission Ridge Road. 

The work is weather dependent and could be cancelled. Weather conditions must be favorable. 

Burning conditions include correct temperature, wind, fuel moisture, and ventilation for smoke.   

When those criteria are met, firefighters implement, monitor, and patrol each burn to ensure it meets forest health and public safety goals including air quality. 

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