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Winthrop Top Recommendation For Potential Base Changes

by USFS |

Forest Service News: Smokejumper base analysis complete; Winthrop top recommendation

Wenatchee, WA- For nearly 80 years, firefighters have utilized the North Cascades Smokejumper Base (Base) to serve eastern Washington and beyond. For the past several years, the U.S. Forest Service has been reviewing existing facilities issues including the ‘obstacle free zone’ and current safety standards.

This summer, a group of engineering and smokejumper professionals completed a required Preliminary Project Analysis (Analysis) ahead of much needed, substantial facilities changes.
The Analysis explored a broad range of options at locations in Yakima, Wenatchee and Winthrop. The group analyzed and evaluated several factors including economic impacts, fire occurrence, cost and more.

“With significant capital investment costs needed to improve the current facilities, agency policy requires that all viable alternatives be evaluated,” said Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Supervisor, Mike Williams. “I am pleased to share, all factors considered, the existing Base location in Winthrop is the top recommended alternative.”

Wenatchee is a close second and could also provide effective wildfire support coverage to Eastern Washington. The Yakima location is a distant third and will not be considered further.

“Our engineering, facilities, and budget staff will continue to work through construction options and related funding needs outlined in the Analysis. We will continue to share information with our communities and stakeholders as work progresses on this issue,” added Williams.

The 2017 Analysis is available at www.fs.usda.gov/main/okawen/fire