Enhancing Our Natural Heritage
Fire was 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.
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
- Bureau of Land Management
- The Nature Conservancy
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Lane County Parks
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Friends of Buford Park/Mt. Pisgah
- Eugene Springfield Fire
- Oregon Department of Forestry
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.