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Rivers to Ridges partners prepare for ecological burns this fall

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News Release from Lane Co. Government
Posted on FlashAlert: September 19th, 2022 11:07 AM

This press release was sent on behalf of the Rivers to Ridges partners. Any resulting news coverage should reflect that and not Lane County Government.

This fall, Rivers to Ridges partners plan to conduct ecological burns on properties in the Eugene-Springfield area where habitat stewardship work is underway. The Rivers to Ridges partnership has been coordinating ecological burns in the southern Willamette Valley for more than 30 years.

Ecological – or prescribed – burning is different from wildfire. Ecological burns use low intensity fire and are only conducted under strict weather and safety conditions. The fire helps restore native prairie, savanna and oak woodland habitats while reducing the risk of high-intensity wildfire.

“Regular, recurring prairie and savanna fires have historically been set for thousands of years by indigenous peoples in the Willamette Valley, in order to help a number of plant and animal species thrive,” said Ed Alverson, Lane County Parks natural areas coordinator. “Ecological burns restore this historical land management practice to support these important but declining habitats in the Willamette Valley.”

While the partners hope to conduct several burns before the end of the year, they are dependent upon weather conditions for each burn and must have approved permits from Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA). Experienced and highly trained fire crews will be managing these controlled burns using detailed burn plans, which include extensive prescriptions for conducting the burns to provide optimal smoke dispersal and maximum protection for the community.

“When the Rivers to Ridges team predicts conditions will be right for an ecological fire we monitor the weather, humidity and wind in the days leading up to the burn and if conditions aren’t exactly right on the morning of the burn we don’t proceed,” said Alverson. “If we are able to conduct the burn, then fire personnel are on-site and burned areas are patrolled until there is no danger of the fire reigniting.”

Learn more about the benefits of ecological burning from The Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/oregon/controlled-burns/.

About Rivers to Ridges:

The Rivers to Ridges Partnership is dedicated to improving the quality of life for residents in the upper Willamette Valley by working together to protect and enhance the region’s land and water resources and their ecosystem functions and values. Partner agencies include Lane County Parks, Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah, City of Eugene, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, McKenzie River Trust, The Nature Conservancy and more. www.rivers2ridges.org.

 

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