Controlled Burning

Smoke and flames will likely be visible during the burning in the Hazel Camp, Garderner Ridge and Wilderness Retreat areas this week.

Area logging operators are taking advantage of the break in the weather to conduct controlled burning of slash piles, unwanted debris from the timber cutting.

Smoke and flames will likely be visible during the burning in the Hazel Camp, Garderner Ridge and Wilderness Retreat areas this week.

"This is the normal controlled burning for this time of year," Coos Forest Protective Associations district specialist Jeff Chase said. "The landowners were waiting for better weather trying to get all their slash burning completed, and with the forecast calling for rainy weather, that could help mitigate any control issues."

While it is too dry and risky to do the slash burning during the summer, the cool, wet fall and winter allows the burning to rid the forests of the unwanted timber debris.

"We wait until the materials are good and wet," Chase said. "The piles still burn because they are constructed to trap in the heat, and crews carefully monitor each burn unit."

Forest managers receive the slash burning requests from the land owners and the plans to are submitted to the Oregon Department of Forestry before the burning is allowed.

"This allows our staff to enter the burn units one at a time into a computer, advising the area 911 centers and other agencies, so that everyone knows what we are doing," Chase said.

Following the timber operations, land owners hire crews to gather the debris into piles and to conduct the burning.

"So that the debris doesn't add to the spring and summer forest fire danger danger and it also clears it off the land so that they can start planting new trees," Chase said. "Most of the timber companies will be starting that this month."

The specific acreage or number of slash units to be burned was not immediately available.Chase said it is likely more controlled burning will occur next week in the region.

"They'll probably be burning several each day to try and get it all done before the major rainstorms," Chase said.

The state forestry department regulates the the controlled burning to avoid impacting communities as much as possible.

"As long as we have good weather, they will try to accomplish as much burning as they can," Chase said. "We are using forecasts to help us coordinate the burns to make sure the smoke goes into the direction we want it to go," he said.

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