ASHLAND, Ore. — Officials from the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest warn that prescribed burns in the Ashland Watershed may be "highly visible" on Wednesday in the Ashland and Medford areas.
Prescribed burns have been ongoing throughout the area since early this month, but Wednesday's burn involves a 57-acre portion of the Four Corners area and may be even more noticeable.
The public is advised to avoid Four Corners while the burn is underway. The Lower Missing Links trail will be closed temporarily, and other trails may see smoke impacts, including Marty's Trail and Catwalk. Ignitions are set to begin at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
According to the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project, crews from Lomakatsi Restoration Project and Grayback Forestry wll also be working on a controlled burn west of Ashland in an effort to create a buffer near the Ashland watershed.
"All prescribed burns are thoroughly planned and require a strict approval process for smoke management, fire safety, and ecological outcomes before professional staff light any fire on the ground," the U.S. Forest Service said. "During burning operations, fire personnel carefully monitor weather conditions to minimize smoke impacts and to keep the fire in control."
Spring and fall are usually the best times of year for prescribed burns, allowing fuel to catch without being too intense. This spring has been particularly dry, but officials said that the firefighter units on-scene are prepared with fire breaks and equipment to ensure that flames don't escape the area.
"The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest appreciates the understanding and cooperation while we accomplish the important work of fuels reduction in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) near Ashland," USFS said. "Other important burn objectives include helping to protect the community and the municipal water supply for the City of Ashland and improving wildlife habitat."