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home : current news : current news July 23, 2016

3/4/2014 1:06:00 PM
Forest Service reaches out regarding burning

The burning season will be here soon, and the Forest Service will be igniting prescribed fires in the Metolius Basin.

The Sisters Ranger District will be holding an open house at the Camp Sherman Community Center on Monday, March 10, from 10 a.m. to noon and 5:30 to 7 p.m., to answer questions and discuss concerns related to prescribed fire in the Metolius Basin.

Several prescribed burns are planned for this spring and fall during site-specific "windows," based on air temperatures, relative humidity, fuel moistures, predicted smoke dispersion, and wind speed and direction.

Durations of these windows can vary, limiting suitable burn opportunities. Underburning typically occurs in units that have been thinned, handpiled, and/or mowed to reduce fuel loading prior to reintroducing fire.

Units planned for this 2014 in the Metolius Basin include the following:

• Metolius Basin 1720 - up to 300 acres off Forest Road 100, southwest of Camp Sherman.

• 1425 RX - up to 400 acres off Forest Road 1425 in the Metolius Basin.

• Metolius WUI - up to 200 acres off Forest Road 1217 in the vicinity of Allingham Guard Station.

The purpose of 1425 RX, Metolius Basin 1720, and Metolius WUI, is to utilize prescribed fire to restore ponderosa pine forest ecosystems to a more natural and healthy stand density by restoring the role of low-intensity fire, thereby minimizing the risk of future high-intensity wildfires through modification of fuels and their arrangement.

This provides for the safety of people and the protection of property by producing defensible space, as well as restoration of late-successional (old growth) forest conditions. It will also reduce decadent brush and revitalize forage base, reduce competition for native grasses and forbs, and reduce duff layers for ponderosa pine seedling regeneration. It will also maintain and/or improve wildlife habitat.

• Metolius RNA Units #13, 21, 31, 32, 34, and 41 - 96 acres one-half mile northeast of the Gorge Campground.

The purpose of the Metolius RNA is the research of the use of prescribed fire as a tool for restoration of historical forest conditions and the maintenance and improvement of forest health in fire-adapted ecotypes.

Results will demonstrate the ecological effects of re-introducing fire into eastside ponderosa pine ecosystems, and assist forest managers in predicting the short and long-term effects of repeated fire in low-elevation ponderosa pine stands. While most of the prescribed fires are implemented in units that have been thinned, handpiled, and/or mowed, units in the Metolius RNA are managed solely with prescribed fire for research purposes.

Contact Sisters Ranger District Fuels Program Manager Jinny Reed at 541-549-7644, or Fuels Technician Trevor Miller at 541-549-7638, for information or to be put on a notification list.

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