wildfire

Lomakatsi Restoration Project

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.  The City of Ashland does not want a hot fire to burn across the mountain side that provides its water, and it's impossible to prevent all fires. 

So the city and partners are thinning and burning the watershed in the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project to reduce fire fuels. 

The project is now five years old, and a recent federal grant will allow it to continue and expand. 

KQED San Francisco

The fires are cold, but the scars remain.

Several fires burned large swaths of the Klamath National Forest during the summer and fall of 2014.

Now the Forest Service proposes rehabilitation projects in those areas: The Westside Fire Recovery Project.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement is out and comments are open until the middle of April.

Worldview-3

Count on a lot of comments on the Westside Fire Recovery Project in the Klamath National Forest.

The project would involve salvage logging and other activities in three major areas burned by fires in the summer of 2014.

We talked to the forest bosses in a previous segment; now we hear the concerns of KS Wild and other conservation groups.

Inciweb.org

The concept of "fire season" has become more fluid over the years, particularly in California. 

Unusually warm weather with little precipitation means parts of the state are prone to wildfire year-round. 

Assembly member Brian Dahle, who represents much of the North end of the state, wants to reduce fire danger and provide fuel for biomass power generation. 

That involves reducing the fuel loads in the forests of the Sierra Nevada, which involves cutting at least some trees. 

Teaching Wildland Fire Prevention Young

Mar 3, 2015
FEMA/Public Domain

Wildland firefighting agencies frequently stress the importance of protecting rural homes from fire by clearing out "defensible space." 

So why not get the message across to a younger audience? 

Ruch School in the Applegate Valley plans to join with community partners to make the school grounds more fire resistant, with students taking part in the process. 

Money For Oregon Residential Fuel Reduction

Jan 13, 2015
NW Fire Blog

Forestry workers on both sides of the state line give constant reminders about the value of clearing away potential fire fuels on rural property. 

The whole concept of "defensible space" means putting that space between a rural home and the possibility of destruction. 

So the Oregon Department of Forestry offers some financial incentives to reduce fuels. 

Smokejumping Into History

Dec 29, 2014
Forest Service/Public Domain

The idea of jumping out of a plane to fight a forest fire sounds hazardous (it is), but it has a long history. 

Long enough to be commemorated in a museum. 

The Siskiyou Smokejumper Base in Cave Junction operated for decades, closing in 1980. 

Now it's a museum, restored to its 1950 appearance, with additional protections from the federal government. 

Coexistence With Wildfire

Nov 19, 2014
Inciweb.org

The recent report on coexistence with wildfire may bring you up short. 

For one thing, it points out the big differences between our approaches to wildfire and other disasters. 

We gird against earthquakes and coastal storms, for example, but don't try to stop them. 

The attitude toward fire is different, and generally does not involve urging people to build homes farther from fire zones. 

Restoring Weed After The Boles Fire

Sep 26, 2014
Courtesy of Cal Fire

The best thing that can be said about the Boles fire sweeping through Weed on September 15 is that nobody died or suffered a serious injury. 

But losing 148 homes is not an event from which a community recovers overnight. 

There's a long road ahead before the lost homes are rebuilt, and the community will bear a permanent scar.

Rethinking A Wildfire Hazard Zone

Sep 25, 2014
Oregon.gov

The recent fire that destroyed nearly 150 homes in Weed confirmed what we already knew: what we think of as "wild" fire can also spread within cities. 

Even before the Boles Fire swept through Weed, the city of Ashland began plans to expand its designated Wildfire Hazard Zone

Ashland Fire & Rescue proposes putting the entire city in the zone.

National Weather Service

(UPDATED Monday, Sept. 8, 9:00 a.m.)

A southerly wind pushed smoke from the Happy Camp Complex of fires over the state line during the weekend, raising air pollution levels into the unhealthy zone in the Rogue Valley.

A Sunday evening update pegged the fire size at nearly 97,000 acres, the largest fire currently burning in California.

Meanwhile, air quality in Medford and Grants Pass reached the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range. A later reading put Medford's air solidly into "unhealthy" for all breathers.

Large plumes of smoke could be seen from Medford, both from the Happy Camp Complex, and from the 790 fire burning in the Cascades north of Prospect.

A shift to a westerly wind blew much of the smoke directly into Medford by mid-afternoon on Saturday. A similar weather pattern repeated on Sunday afternoon

Justin Corns / Oregon Dept of Forestry via www.rogueweather.com

UPDATED | Friday 9/22 10:16 a.m.

An evacuation advisory in the Applegate has been lifted by fire officials, who say significant progress has been made fighting the Old Blue Mountain Fire burning three miles from Applegate between the towns of Gold Hill & Rogue River. A roadblock on Foots Creek Road was also removed on Thursday.

The 99 acre fire is the largest of eight fires sparked by lightning Monday evening in Jackson and Josephine counties. 

The Value Of A Burning Forest

Aug 18, 2014
Wikimedia

It's hard to think about the benefits of a forest fire when it's bearing down on your house or filling the air with smoke. 

But fire is a natural part of the life cycle of forests. 

And it is one that got pushed aside for many years, in favor of fire suppression. 

The Heart Of Fire Season (We Hope)

Aug 5, 2014
KeithHenty.com

It's been a busy couple of weeks for firefighters in the region. 

The Oregon Gulch fire is one of those rare ones that involves both states, and it's a big one. 

It is also far from the only big one burning; crews are working fires in many places in both states. 

Lee Winslow/ODF

SUNDAY 9:30 PM:

ODF says crews "made excellent progress on the fire" during the day Sunday.  Fire acreage at 36,500+... first day since Thursday fire did not gain 10,000 acres during the day.

SUNDAY NOON:

The Oregon Gulch Fire continues to burn through a vast swath of land on the Oregon/California state line, generating large amounts of smoke and obscuring dozens of other fires burning in the region.  The fire zone is south of Oregon highway 66 and generally east of Jenny Creek, with land scorched in Jackson, Klamath and Siskiyou Counties.

Keith Henty/KeithHenty.com

Much of the Rogue Valley is shrouded in a smoky haze, as southern Oregon’s largest wildfire so far this season grows at a rapid pace.

The lightning-caused fire -- reported Thursday morning as 10 acres -- exploded across southeastern Jackson County overnight and spread into Klamath County as well as Siskiyou County, California.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Lightning continues to set fires around the region, keeping firefighters busy and forcing evacuation alerts.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Office issued a level one evacuation order for Copco Road east of Ashland Thursday afternoon (July 31).

The Oregon Gulch fire burning in the nearby Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument prompted the order, which means residents should be ready to evacuate if needed.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

Nature continues to provide a one-two punch to the region: hot, dry weather AND thunderstorms.

Oregon Department of Forestry reports seven new fires across the Medford district from Tuesday's storms.  None are big, but more may develop.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning covering the Rogue Valley, South Cascades, Siskiyous, the Klamath Basin and Siskiyou County.  It remains in effect until 11 PM Wednesday (July 30).

South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership

Firefighters appear to have the upper hand on the Ferguson fire, burning on private land in Klamath County. 

By Monday afternoon, the fire was listed as 75% contained on 200 acres.

The fire was first reported on Friday, and quickly burned down three structures and threatened several more, forcing evacuation orders.

Those orders had been dialed back to less urgent advisories by early Monday.  The fire zone is 30 miles east of Klamath Falls, five miles north of Beatty.

Public Domain

Thunderstorms moved through Southern Oregon and Northern California Tuesday night, with thousands of lightning strikes recorded on both sides of the state line.

The National Weather Service reports more than 1,200 downstrikes in Jackson County alone.

And so the Oregon Department of Forestry reports multiple fires caused by lightning, most of them less than two acres in size.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest also reports more than a dozen new fires, also small.  Crews scattered in search of new smokes.

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