What’s Next?: State Agency Looking for Input After Fire Burned 345 Acres of Wildlife Area Earlier This Year

By The Chronicle

The creation of a restoration plan for the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area will be the topic of discussion at an open house hosted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Dec. 13.

That public presentation will take place at Swede Hall in Rochester from 6-8 p.m.

A total of 345 acres of the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area were burned during a wildfire that began in a residential area on Aug. 22. The fire destroyed several personal residences as well as a historic homestead and barn within the wilderness area that dated back to 1860. In addition to the structural losses, wildlife habitat was also scorched or compromised across a large swath of the wildlife area, predominantly on the south side of Scatter Creek.

 ‘A Wall of Fire:’ Without Quick Thinking, Grand Mound Blaze Would’ve Been Worse

“Many people have expressed interest in learning more about how we plan to restore the native prairie land that was burned by the wildfire,” said Darric Lowery, wildlife area manager, in a press release. “This is an opportunity for the public to give input and find out how the agency manages for wildfire on its lands.”

The WDFW is encouraging the local community and anyone with a general interest in the management of the wildlife and recreation area to attend the open house. 

Mapping the Fire

This map provided by the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority shows the two main bodies of the Scatter Creek Fire.

Members of the Washington Department of Natural Resources will be on hand to discuss firefighting techniques and fire prevention methods.

The Scatter Creek Wildlife Area is owned and managed by the WDFW and provides a prairie sanctuary for several endangered species, including the Mazama pocket gopher, Taylor’s checkerspot and mardon skipper butterflies. The wildlife area is also popular with hikers, bird watchers, bird hunters and dog trainers. Scatter Creek is one of 33 wildlife area managed by the WDFW.

Beginning next year, the WDFW will begin revising its management plan for lands across south Puget Sound, including the Scatter Creek Wildlife Area.

 Scatter Creek Fire Victim Recounts Fast-Moving Blaze

The WDFW is actively recruiting advisory committee members from the public to participate in that process. 

Anyone interested in joining the committee should contact Darric Lowery prior to the end of the year by email at darric.lowery@dfw.wa.gov. 

Swede Hall is located at 18543 Albany St. SW, Rochester.

 Scatter Creek Fire Prompts WDFW to Redirect Release of Pheasants