Scanning the slopes of Lake Chelan on a recent trip to Stehekin reminded me of the size of the fires that have hit the area in the last few years.
Dead trees are reminders of the hot fires we endured. And I wondered if losing that tree cover had any measurable effect upon water supply into the lake.
I asked Suzanne Hartman if the PUD had found any difference. The response from her was that “it’s really hard to make a straight line connection to tree burn and snowmelt/runoff.”
This year’s runoff was 96 percent of average, the two prior years 125 percent and 126 percent of average. They think, she reported, that temperature and wind are often more contributing factors to early runoffs.
So the answer is that we don’t really know.