During a wet April, I was doing stand exams in old plantations in southwest Oregon. No, those days of wearing “tin pants” and “corks” are not over with! On my one day off that wet week, I woke up early on Sunday morning and was out the door before any of my co-workers even got out of bed. I found plenty to shoot, exploring the area around the south fork of the Coquille River, east of Powers.
Here’s the story..there’s even a video of brush piles burning there somewhere. My point being that this seems like strong evidence that fuel treatments are not excuses for “industrial logging” as sometimes portrayed. At least not all of them.
Forest crews may begin burning brush and debris piles next week when weather permits north of Banning, Beaumont, and near Oak Glen, a spokesman for the San Bernardino National Forest announced Friday.
The pile burning locations are:
Cal Fire Oak Glen Conservation Camp
Cherry Canyon Truck trail between Oak Glen camp and Mile High Ranch
West of Pisgah Peak along the 1S07 Pisgah Peak Road
Above Pilgrim Pines near the old helispot
Banning Bench at the top of Bluff Street
“The Forest Service has been working closely with the community, the Oak Glen Fire Safe Council and local agencies developing and implementing the Oak Glen/Banning Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project,” John Miller of the Forest Service in San Bernardino said in a statement.
“Over the spring and summer months, crews have been thinning and stacking piles of dense brush as part of the fuels reduction project,” Miller said. “Pile burning is now one of the tools planned for use as part of the project work underway in the community.”
Firefighters are planning to burn about 200 brush piles in the national forest near the Oak Glen community this spring as weather and conditions permit, Miller said.
“Burning of these brush piles needs to occur in order to further reduce the threat of wildfire to mountain communities,” Miller said. “Firefighters will remain on scene of burning piles as long as the piles have the potential to be active. If conditions change to make burning unfavorable or dangerous, burning will cease.”
The Oak Glen-Banning Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project will reduce fire risk to communities and improve forest health on national forest lands surrounding the communities of Yucaipa, Oak Glen, Banning, Forest Falls, and Mountain Home Village, forest officials said.
Fuel reduction and pile burning help decrease potential for high intensity, stand-replacing wildfires and the threat to nearby communities.
The project also increases firefighter safety in the area, and helps improve forest health, Miller said.
Creation of a system of fuel breaks are underway on the approximately 511-acre project area.
“This project began with the community based Fireshed meeting in April 2005 and is a great example of a collaborative partnership CALFIRE, the Oak Glen Fire Safe Council, Urban Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps and the community,” District Ranger Gabe Garcia said. “I want to thank everyone that has supported the project, and their understanding of the necessity to burn the slash and debris piles.”
If citizens see smoke in the air in the general vicinity of Oak Glen and would like to find out what is happening, they are asked to call the San Bernardino National Forest at (909) 382-2851 or visit the forest’s “alerts” page on the web at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/sbnf/alerts-notices.
Oak Glen/Banning Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project documents are available on-line at: data.ecosystem-management.org/nepaweb.