Public Information Officer
It has been nearly three weeks since the Mason Springs and Berry Creek fires came roaring down canyon, consuming everything in their path. These fires merged, known as the Canyon Creek Complex, they continue to burn in the surrounding hillsides. While the smoke still lingers and the shock starts to wear off, residents begin the planning stages of the difficult rebuilding process. Thoughts of how to rebuild and reclaim a community from the fire aftermath are forming. The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) wants to be a part of this process of restoring communities in Grant County.
The John Day Unit of ODF employs a staff that can help by providing technical assistance to landowners in the rebuilding of their forested landscapes. This staff is vital in helping the community return the forests and wildland back to pre-fire conditions over time while meeting the requirements of the Oregon Forest Practices Act.
Scorched and burned out silhouettes remain where grass, shrubs and trees were once part of the landscape. As we move toward fall and the rainy season, fragile soil that was held in place by this vegetation becomes a threat to water quality. Rules in the Oregon Forest Practices Act are intended to limit damage to soils and streamside vegetation which can filter ash and sediment from run-off on these blackened slopes. While you may want to get started right away clearing burned vegetation, that vegetation may be critical for soil stabilization until new plants become established. ODF Stewardship Foresters can help landowners navigate through the rules and processes which are in place to maintain healthy forests.
ODF wants to assist landowners through the process for removing hazard trees near homes and infrastructure as well as planning for and implementing salvage logging operations and post fire recovery efforts on private forestlands. ODF John Day Unit Stewardship Forester Ryan Miller explains, “We don’t want to stop someone from removing a tree that poses a safety hazard, we just want to ensure that we protect streams and soil. We can provide landowners options and technical advice for removing hazards while protecting the environment.” Stewardship Foresters can also provide advice on how to restore vegetation back to a site. Contact the local ODF Office in John Day (541-575-1139) for more information.
Additional information and guidance for forest activities is available online at www.oregon.gov/odf/privateforests/pages/fpakeys.aspx