Officials trying to prevent 'catastrophic' wild fire in our forests

Officials trying to prevent 'catastrophic' wild fire in our forests »Play Video
NACHES, Wash. -- It's one of the ugliest sides of nature. Life-threatening wild fires ripping through the forest. Now, state wildlife groups are working to prevent it from happening here.

"It is a serious risk," said Ross Huffman, Oak Creek Wildlife Manager.

Nature and conservancy groups are buying thousands of acres near the Oak Creek Wildlife area. It's their mission to keep it open to the public by preventing development and wildfires. They recently designated areas near Naches for controlled burns and cutting down trees.

The purpose of the controlled burns and harvesting of timber is to create these wide open spaces where the healthiest trees can flourish and remain a little more fireproof.

Nature conservancy workers say they cut or burn small trees to reduce fuel for fire. They leave behind large trees that can stand strong against flames.

Douglas Corpron hikes the area once a week and is happy to see the prevention in action.

"As their science is growing and their understanding, it becomes more and more important thinking about restoring the forest to where it was 100 years ago," Douglas said.

Huffman says that science can ultimately save lives and precious wilderness.

"If fire does come through, it will burn slowly across the ground, it won't climb up and kill the tops of trees and create a large scale, devastating forest fire," Huffman said.

"We care about what's going on in our backyard, that's why we got excited about what's going on," Corpron said.

Cutting and burning trees in the name of preserving our forests.