Columbia Breaks

Fire Interpretive Center

The Name

At the edge of the fire-prone eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains, basalt cliffs and ridges known as “breaks" alter the course of the mighty Columbia River. The Columbia Breaks form a natural boundary between the semi-arid desert plateau of Eastern Washington and the dense forests of the Cascades. The Cascades eastside has deep-cut canyons, knife-edged ridges, and steep slopes. The middle and lower elevations support a forest of pine trees, scattered shrubs, and lush grasses. Summers are hot and dry, with frequent dry lightening storms….and wildfires.