Ecological Burning

flowers at meadowlark prairie

Enhancing Our Natural Heritage

Fire has been used by indigenous people for thousands of years to manage the land, and local plants and animals evolved and adapted to this frequent disturbance. Later, the suspension of this cultural practice led to a loss of fire-resilient plants, animals and the ecological services they provide. 

Today, prescribed ecological burning is one of several tools used to maintain or restore these habitats we all share. In the West Eugene Wetlands, for example, partners have been conducting ecological burning for almost 30 years.

Hear what regional partners have to say about the history, benefits, and safety of prescribed fire or ecological burning in the video below.

Benefits to the Landscape 

  • Enhances natural areas for native plants and animals
  • Provides for educational and recreational opportunities 
  • Reduces build-up of dead, dry vegetation (fuels) to lower risk of unintended, catastrophic wildfire
  • Provides wildland fire training opportunities for firefighting staff from multiple agencies

Coordinated Effort with Regional Partners

Organizations within the Rivers to Ridges Partnership (R2R) and other partners collaboratively plan and implement ecological burning in the South Willamette Valley:

  • City of Eugene and Eugene Springfield Fire
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Ecostudies Institute
  • Friends of Buford Park/Mt. Pisgah
  • Lane County Parks
  • Long Tom Watershed Council
  • McKenzie River Trust
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Willamalane

When and Where

Over several months, partners work together to assess and plan for burns. Preparation includes obtaining the proper authorizations from the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency (LRAPA), the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the City of Eugene. Actual burn events typically occur sometime in September when conditions are right for a safe, efficient burn, and all burning will be completed by October 31st.

Selected parcels of natural areas owned or managed by the partner organizations are burned following rigorous procedures to ensure safety and reduce impacts to people and the environment. The Bureau of Land Management, Eugene-Springfield Fire Department, Lane Fire Authority and/or Oregon Department of Forestry and other local fire district staff help and receive hands-on training in the behavior of wildland fire.

Learn More

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