Thursday, April 7, 2016

Prescribe Burning Notice: Baker City Foothills Fuels Reduction

April 7, 2016

Prescribe Burning Notice: Baker City Foothills Fuels Reduction

The Whitman Ranger District is planning to begin implementation of prescribed burning on the Foothills Fuels Reduction Project within the next week. The Foothills Fuels Reduction project area contains approximately 2,100 acres of prescribed fire units and is located between the Baker City Watershed boundary and private land.

Smoke will be highly visible from the Baker Valley. If a burn is forecasted to produce smoke that will be a significant impact to a community or sensitive area it will rescheduled until there is a more favorable weather forecast.

Prescribed fire is a major component of the Cohesive Wildfire Strategy to meet the goals of restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes and creating fire adapted communities. Prescribed burning is done to reduce dead and down fuels, selectively thin understory trees in dense forested stands, stimulate fire tolerant plant species, enhance forage and browse, reduce the risk of large stand-replacement fires, create strategic fuels breaks in the urban interface, and restore fire under controlled conditions as a disturbance factor in these landscapes. Burning of these units will reduce the threat form high severity high intensity wildfire to both the municipal watershed and nearby private land.

Burning is part of the series of fuel reduction treatments intended to decrease the damage done by wildfires, including reducing the amount of smoke that typically impacts communities during the fire season. The intent is to keep smoke out of populated areas.  Burning under controlled conditions reduces surface and ladder fuels setting the stage to limit future high intensity unplanned fires and the smoke that they would produce. Many areas are burned on 10 to 15 year rotations to limit fuels accumulations and enhance forage and browse important to wildlife.

For questions concerning the prescribe burning please contact: (541)523-6391.

Spring Activities Can Ignite Wildfires

Spring has finally sprung in Northeast Oregon!  With the warm weather and sunny skies comes the desire to move into the outdoors.  Spring is a great time to get out and enjoy the recreation opportunities that the area has to offer.  However, fire danger is still present despite the more normal winter conditions we experienced this year.

“There’s a period in the spring when fire danger is still high.  The vegetation is still dormant and hasn’t greened up yet.” said Joseph Goebel, Wildland Fire Supervisor in Wallowa.

These conditions were evident on Saturday when an abandoned warming fire escaped from its ring and burned approximately 1 ½ acres along the Grande Ronde River.  Fire crews from Wallowa Rural Fire Department as well as Oregon Department of Forestry responded to the blaze. 

“Cool nights and mornings have folks looking for ways to get warm.  They just need to make sure that their fire is dead out before they move on.”  Goebel said.

Another pre-season fire danger is debris burning.  Spring is the time when many of us clean up around the yard and look for ways to get rid of built up yard debris.  Debris burning is often the way people turn to get rid of these piles.  Regardless of the time of year, burning requires extreme attention.  Debris burning is the number one human-cause of wildfire.  Many of these fires take place before and after the normal fire season.  ODF officials encourage landowners to heed caution and refer to the following checklist before burning:

·       First seek alternatives to burning. Check with your local landscapers or landfills for composting and debris removal programs.

·       If you decide to burn the material, call your local fire department to see if a burning permit is required.  Burning regulations are not the same in all areas.

·       Once approved, prepare by having a shovel and charged garden hose at the burn site.

·       Find a clear site away from buildings and trees with overhanging branches.

·       Clear a fire trail down to mineral soil around the pile or incinerator of at least 10 feet in diameter.

·       Divide large piles into smaller piles.  Smaller piles burn quickly and efficiently and are easier to control.

·       Avoid burning during windy conditions. Embers can travel and ignite spot fires nearby.

·       Stay with the fire, wetting down the edges to prevent escape, until it is completely out.

·       Remember, unattended piles can quickly spread out of control.  If your debris burn escapes control, call 911 immediately.

This is also the best time of year to make your property wildfire-safe.  Be sure and remove all dead leaves and needles from your roof and gutters.  Create a defensible space of 30 to 100 feet around your home by clearing brush and moving wood piles.  Keep your lawn well irrigated and make sure your driveway is clearly marked and accessible for emergency vehicles and equipment. For more information, contact your nearest ODF office. is your spot for current fire information in the Blue Mountains. 


To report a fire, call Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch at (541)963-7171 or dial 9-1-1.