CENTRAL POINT, Ore.– Smoke and fire rising from the Jackson County Expo signaled the beginning of this year’s preparation for the Fourth of July. The clearing and burning of brush is all being done to make sure The Expo meets standards in order to receive a fireworks permit.
If you were to stand on the side of the lake across from the amphitheater you’d hear the sound of crackling. Good crackling that is as it signifies progress being made.
Last year’s surprising fire during the Fourth of July fireworks show at Red, White & Boom illuminated a hazard at The Expo. In order to receive a permit and do fireworks again this year, steps had to be taken.
In a partnership between the City of Central Point, The Expo and Fire District 3, crews are finally clearing out decades of brush and bramble and creating something more than just a spot for fireworks.
“It’s not just about the fireworks anymore. It’s about opening this up,” said Mike Blake of Central Points’ public works department. “We have usable land out here now. There’s things no one’s ever seen out here and it’s here.”
Such things like a small pond and an old trail with several benches along it that were completely covered by mounds of blackberry bushes for years.
The process to clear everything is expected to go quickly. Already two acres have been cleared and burned and crews are hoping to clear a total of seven to ten acres before the summer.
Progress is looking good and many can’t wait to see what it looks like when the clearing and burning are finished.
“It’s been great. Everybody is, you know, doing their part to do what we can do for the community,” said Blake. “It’s not just about us. It’s going to be a great thing.”
It’s unclear what the total cost is to clear all of the brush but the city says it’s a joint collaboration with The Expo and Fire District 3. Estimates contractors have given The Expo have put the cost between $1,200 to $1,500 per acre.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.