(Springfield, OR) The Willamette National Forest is seeking your comments on a proposal to use prescribed fire over approximately 1,725 acres within and near the southern portion of the Mt Washington Wilderness.
Our intent is to create a patchwork of burned and unburned forest in the area – in advance of the next naturally-caused wildfire. We hope to affect how wildfires behave by creating areas where already-burned areas slow approaching flames. Such fires are less likely to leave the Wilderness, giving fire mangers more fire-fighting options, including allowing the fires to naturally burn within Wilderness boundaries. In the long run, we believe this burn will result in safer conditions for firefighters, better protect wilderness values, create a better ecological balance, and would cost taxpayers less money.
The Mt. Washington Wilderness was selected for this project because like most Congressionally-designated Wildernesses along the Cascade, it is frequently hit by lightning strikes and the ensuing fires have the potential to move roughly east or west, depending on the winds. The wind-driven fires often burn right through the relatively continuous Wilderness forest canopy and continue their path toward valuable resources like organizational camps, forested stands, homes and other infrastructure outside of the Wilderness boundaries.
This is our first effort to use prescribed fire in the Wilderness here locally, but this has been successfully implemented in other locations. If you are interested in learning more, and adding your thoughts, please call Project Leader Matt Peterson at 541.225.6421 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. A draft analysis of the environmental impacts of this project is available for public review and comment and is available here: http://tinyurl.com/oun3hrl.