Forest Fire Season Begins, Just in Time for the 4th

The Register Guard wrote this week on the long standing tension between timber industries and environmental organizations that is being brought to the surface once again. Timber industries are calling for approval from the Obama Administration for greater annual harvests on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s managed forests of western Oregon.

The industries say that the amount of timber being currently harvested, around 500 million board feet, is unsustainable for the survival of the mills. Resource council President Tom Partin stated that the amount of timber left standing leads to a greater risk of forest fires which “destroy wildlife habitat and threaten water supplies.”

Now, the call is for an increase to an annual harvest of 1.2 billion board feet.

In this week’s posting on the NW Timber Blog, the author stated that the BLM is failing to “follow the law.” Rather, they only harvest “half of what the forests can sustainably produce” and “sustained timber production is the statutory requirement for these lands.”

The Western Oregon Plan Revision was written by the BLM in response to a timber industry lawsuit in 2005 is what the BLM is being accused of not abiding.

Forests south of Eugene, in North Umpqua, officially enter the start of this year’s fire

season on June 29th, stated on the Douglas Forest Protection Association’s website. This year will mark the DFPA’s 100th fire season. In an article on KEZI’s  website, Sharon Ko reported that the last year’s fire season resulted in fewer forest fires. This could be in part attributed to citizens following the advice and restrictions throughout the season to lower the risk of starting a preventable fire. The Douglas Forest Protection Agency places restrictions on unregulated burning in residential areas as well as special protocol for workers on wilderness lands.

With the coming of the 4th of July, the DFPA asks for the community to be mindful of where they are deploying fireworks and to not take them onto federal or forested lands. The recent Eugene City Council meeting turned down the proposal for a ban on fireworks, as reported this week on KVAL.com. The economic loss for businesses and organizations out of which the fireworks are sold was one of the reasons stated that led to the final decision. Councilors determined that illegal fireworks were the root of the problem and plan to focus on deterring illegal displays this year.

The twitterbuzz includes some people who definitely don’t appreciate the early fireworks displays around Eugene neighborhoods. “Hey #Eugene, Pro Tip: We usually do fireworks on JULY FOURTH, which is in a week. Put the pyrotechnics away and go to bed!” as stated @emilyminty on twitter this week. Perhaps police are already on the trail.

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About Stacey M. Hollis

Aspiring Environmental Field Journalist taking on the world of birds on an island 23 miles out to sea.
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