Cooler weather prompts wildfire safety projects

ASHLAND, Ore. — As we get closer to fall wildfire safety preparation is starting back up, one of the first restoration projects of the season started Monday.

Lomakatsi Restoration Project crews started a thinning project in the upper Elkader Street and south Mountain Avenue neighborhood. It’s part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project, which covers the Ashland watershed and the lands that surround it.

“We’ve been working with quite a few of the landowners up here to do our ecological thinning projects that will help reduce the risk of severe fire,” said Shane Jimmerfield with Lomakatsi. “It looks at the habitat and trying to enhance that in looking to increase the resiliency to climate change and different threats that might be coming from the future.”

Crews will be cutting small trees and brush on private land that will be piled and burned during the cool, wet months ahead. “Through about 100 years or more of fire suppression, it’s become overly-dense with encroaching Douglas Fir and just many more trees than what should naturally be on the landscape,” Jimmerfield said.

Officials said burning the excess trees sets the stage for returning fire back to the ground in a prescribed manner. “Very managed, the right time of the year to maintain these treatments with fire on the ground over decades to come,” said Jimmerfield.

Experts said thinning can limit the amount of smoke due to fires not being as severe and if a fire sparks, it can’t spread as quickly.

Crews said they’ll be working from morning to mid-day until September 27th.

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