With fire conditions moderating throughout the Umpqua Valley, fire officials with the Douglas Forest Protective Association will begin working with farmers, ranchers and other landowners to complete prescribed burns throughout the area. Prescribed burns may be conducted on fields, pastures and hillsides to promote productive grazing lands for livestock and to improve habitat for wildlife, while reducing the buildup of flammable vegetation. Burn permits for backyard debris burning, including both debris piles and burn barrels, will not be issued at this time.
Over the last five years, local landowner’s working with DFPA have averaged a combined total of about 3,500 acres of prescribed burns annually, throughout the Douglas District. For many agricultural landowners, fire is used as a tool to prepare their lands for the next growing season by removing noxious weeds, brush, insects, and plant disease from their lands. Prescribed burns are also beneficial to firefighters by reducing the buildup of brush and other flammable vegetation throughout the area.
Before fire is introduced onto the landscape, prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails around the proposed burn site. In addition, landowners must be able to demonstrate 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 only take place when both fire conditions and weather patterns are favorable for a safe, effective burn. By coordinating when and where prescribed burns occur, the smoke impacts to the surrounding areas, can be mitigated.