Lightning is largely absent from Oregon this week. However, warm, dry weather will greet the hundreds of thousands of visitors arriving to see the eclipse of the sun on Aug. 21. Avoiding activities that can spark a wildfire is key to making the eclipse a safe and pleasant experience for all. One measure adopted to reduce the risk of wildfire is a temporary ban, now in effect, on all campfires in state parks





Friday, September 21, 2012

Prescribed Burn at the Oregon Garden aims to re-create oak savannah

The Oregon Department of Forestry issued this news release yesterday.


For immediate release
Major media distribution
September 20, 2012
Contact:
Kris Babbs, 503-945-7444, kbabbs@odf.state.or.us
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, rnichols@odf.state.or.us


Firefighters will shift roles and set a fire at The Oregon Garden. A prescribed burn to remove excess vegetation will be conducted on Sept. 24 by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), The Oregon Garden and Silverton Fire and Rescue.

“This burn of a 12-acre unit within a grove of white oaks is the second phase of a project begun last year,” said Oregon Department of Forestry’s Chris Paul.

The earlier work reduced overgrown vegetation through manual brush removal, tree pruning and herbicide treatment. The aim of the ongoing project, he said, is to create conditions characteristic of the original oak savanna, a lightly forested grassland dominated by oak trees.

The burn will be ignited around 1 p.m. and is expected to be completed in about two hours. It will be staffed by the agencies’ firefighters to contain it within the boundaries of the unit. ODF meteorologists are monitoring weather and wind conditions to minimize smoke intrusion into Silverton. The prescribed burn will be rescheduled if conditions aren’t optimum on Monday.

He said forest fuels such as Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom and other non-native and invasive plant species will be removed to encourage the growth of camas and other native plants and grasses.

The burn will be visible from the deck of The Oregon Garden Fire Safety House, a new life-sized exhibit that features fire-safe home construction material and design improvements, fire-resistant landscaping plants, and a self-guided interpretive tour on how to reduce the surrounding fuels that could cause a wildfire to encroach on a home.

“Silverton residents and visitors to The Oregon Garden should expect smoke in the area during ignitions and as the fire smolders down,” he said.

The forester advised residents who are sensitive to smoke or have pre-existing respiratory problems to limit their outdoor activities on the day of the burn, particularly during the afternoon, and to keep windows closed. More information about how to limit exposure to smoke is available at: www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/visibility.htm.

The prescribed burn will also serve as a training tool for firefighters to work with live fire and hone their skills in wildfire suppression tactics.


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Jeri Chase, ODF Public Information Officer
Fire Duty Officer Pager Number: 503-370-0403

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The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments you have about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity. You are also welcome to contact us by email at: information@odf.state.or.us.

Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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Protection jurisdiction

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state- and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. There are about 30.4 million total acres of forest in Oregon.



Fire suppression policy

The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.




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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.