In addition to clearing excess vegetation that would otherwise compete with young trees soon to be planted, prescribed burning releases nutrients into the soil to jumpstart their growth.
Oregon’s Forest Practices Act, the first in the nation, requires replanting after logging.
To minimize smoke intrusions into populated areas, Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologists daily monitor weather conditions, and issue forecasts and burning instructions throughout the fall prescribed burning season.
To prevent excessive smoke caused by too many burns at one time, the weather forecasters coordinate hundreds of burning requests from private and public forest landowners.
In contrast to prescribed burns, which take place in fall and also spring, large wildfires typically occur in summer when weather conditions often trap smoke in populated valleys for an extended period.
Since 1972, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has regulated forestland burning in the state under the Oregon Smoke Management Plan. Though smoke intrusions into populated areas occasionally occur due to unexpected changes in weather and wind conditions, ODF’s oversight of prescribed burning minimizes such occurrences.
More information on prescribed forest burning can be found online, www.oregon.gov/odf