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Smoke will soon be seen throughout Douglas County as the Douglas Forest Protective Association works with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to complete prescribed burns throughout the Umpqua Valley. Prescribed burns may be conducted on fields, pastures and hillsides to promote productive grazing lands for livestock and to improve habitat for wildlife. The main objective of the prescribed burns is to remove noxious weeds, brush, insects and plant disease from the proposed burn sites. Permits for backyard debris burning, including both debris piles and burn barrels, will not be issued at this time.
Historically, DFPA and local landowner’s have completed about 10,000 acres of prescribed burns annually throughout Douglas County to improve habitat and pasture lands. Prescribed burns are also beneficial to firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation throughout the area. Fire officials note that many wildfires have been suppressed in open grass fields and hillsides where prescribed burning has taken place periodically over the years.
Prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails around the proposed burn site before fire is introduced onto the landscape. In addition, landowners must be able to show that they have the ability and resources in the form of fire suppression equipment and personnel on site to maintain control of the prescribed burn. Once fire trails are approved by DFPA and weather conditions are favorable, a permit may be issued to complete the prescribed burn.
Fire officials say that the effects from the prescribed burns on populated areas will be minimized by allowing the burns to take place only when both fire conditions and weather patterns are favorable to keep smoke out of large populated areas.