MEDFORD, Ore. — Crews with the United States Forest Service walked from pile to pile lighting them on fire on designated areas of the Ashland Watershed to make progress on the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project while weather conditions were just right.
“To burn the piles like we’re doing, we need the weather, we need the moisture. We’ve had an unusually dry winter, so we haven’t had a lot of opportunities to burn,” said U.S.F.S. Division Chief, Gary Smith.
Moisture and wind conditions are the most important factors in determining if controlled burns can be done and Smith said Wednesday the conditions were just right. December 4th was the last day any controlled burns were done, but some piles have been waiting to be burned for two years.
“We have piles that border right on the city of Ashland property, we really want to get those out of the way first. We have good air today. We have a north wind and so it’s blowing the smoke away from Ashland, away from the Rogue Valley, so it’s perfect day to take advantage of these,” said Smith.
About fifty piles are on each acre, and Wednesday, more than one hundred acres were included in the control burn. The burn piles are just one of the steps in the A.F.R. and now the areas burned Wednesday will await under burning.
“With this pile now, it’s burned down pretty good, it’s burned down clean. The thing we’ll do now is we’ll have the crews come back through here, and they’re going to take all this Ringwood that didn’t burn, and they’re going to pile that in so when we’re done, everything that was a part of this pile is going to be burned up”, said Smith.
Officials said if the weather conditions are just right, the controlled burns will continue on Thursday.