Medford, Oregon October 26, 2022 — Due to recent changes in weather conditions, the RRSNF will begin scheduled prescribed burning operations on the forest, a transition that happens each fall. This prescribed fire season comes on the heels of an active fire season for portions of the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks to aggressive initial attack efforts, strong cooperation between partner agencies and good availability of initial attack resources, the RRSNF was successful in suppressing 75 wildfires for a total of 21 acres burned.
With predicted favorable conditions across the forest, fire managers are now planning to switch to an aggressive approach to prescribed burning, with an emphasis on reducing fuels to protect communities from wildfire threat while restoring forest resiliency.
“Our prescribed burning program provides an opportunity for the Forest Service to reduce fuels on the forest floor that feed wildfires and protect the communities in SW OR. By reducing the amount of fuels, we are working to also reduce the amount of smoke to those communities. Having said that, we know the Rogue Valley is a collection point of smoke for this region. We’re doing our best to keep everyone safe while protecting our beautiful forest. By putting good fire on the landscape when the weather cools, we are able to achieve both,” said Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor Merv George, Jr.
Prescribed burns are planned across the RRSNF in a variety of locations, including near neighboring private lands that are at-risk from wildfire, in areas that need fuels reduction for wildlife habitat enhancement and also in those locations where the forest has previously invested time in fuels reduction work.
Now that fire season is behind us, it’s time for us to switch gears from fire suppression to introducing ‘good’ fire to the landscape” said Deputy Fire Staff Officer Rob Budge.
The RRSNF looks for opportunities in the fall, winter and spring seasons to conduct prescribed burns as weather conditions allow. Weather trends that bring moisture will typically result in pile burning, while drier weather during these seasons is more conducive to under burning (landscape).
The RRSNF has several thousand acres of under burning and hand pile burning planned across all Ranger Districts for FY’23. The locations and acreage of burning that will take place is largely dependent on the amount and timing of moisture that is received. Annually, the Forest typically completes 2,500-4,000 acres of hand pile burning and 1,000-2,000 acres of under burning.
To stay current on burning activities, visit the RRSNF and the Rogue Valley Interagency Communication Center website https://orrvc.org/rxfire.shtml which is updated every morning. The public is also encouraged to monitor the RRSNF Facebook and Twitter accounts for the latest information and updates.
How do agencies conduct prescribed burns? Prescribed burn operations are planned with required safety precautions in place. Burns are ignited by qualified fire personnel during carefully timed and monitored weather conditions. A burn plan and “prescription” identifies the conditions which allow low-intensity fire to consume piles or ground-level fuels while protecting larger trees and soils. As much as possible, fire managers select weather conditions that send smoke away from nearby communities. After the burn is conducted, regular patrols check on the project area to ensure the burn is staying within the containment lines.