Firefighters train on prescribed burn, fuels reduction in Applegate Valley

APPLEGATE VALLEY, Ore. – A series of prescribed burns are planned this week by the U.S. Forest Service and BLM, starting with one Monday in the Applegate Valley. Other groups have also joined in to learn about prescribed burn techniques.

It’s all part of a plan to burn areas from Applegate to Ashland to improve their ability to fight potential wildfires, in certain areas; particularly, ones near homes and structures. U.S. Forest Service Fuels Specialist, Kit Colbenson said,

This particular unit is on the edge of what we call the Wild Land Urban Interface. It’s right up against the community. Doing this fuels treatment and maintaining it will help us be able to defend those communities should a wildfire, a large fire grow and start heading towards there.

Colbenson also said Monday’s burn is near parts of the 2017 Miller Complex fire, where the dead trees from that complex can still be seen. He said that complex serves as an example as to why fuels treatments are so important.

“As the fire came down towards the community, we were able to burn off our fuels treatments to stop the progression of the fire and protect the community,” Colbenson said.

Lomakatsi Restoration crews were also at the burn for training. It’s through the RV TREX program, a prescribed fire training exchange so participants can learn from the forest service on how to perform burns. Seneca Hescock is with the Lomakatsi Restoration Project and said,

To have them come out here and teach us what they know as well, it’s a good thing to learn and a good thing to listen to, because these guys have years of experience under their belts as well.

Hescock also said that prescribed burning is necessary and that it has been practiced by Native American tribes for generations to promote a healthy environment and protection.

“If this work is not done, these fires will only get progressively worse,” Hescock added. “So do not think of us as just burning this land in a harmful way. We’re doing this work to make sure your home survives.”

The Forest Service has other burns planned, coming up in the Ashland Watershed, Prospect and more. For more information, click here.

© 2024 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content