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Prescrbed burn at The Oregon Garden aims to re-create oak savannah
For immediate release
Major media distribution
September 20, 2012
Contact: Kris Babbs, 503-945-7444, kbabbs@odf.state.or.us          
Rod Nichols, 503-945-7425, rnichols@odf.state.or.us
Firefighters will shift roles and set a fire at The Oregon Garden. A prescribed burn to remove excess vegetation will be conducted on Sept. 24 by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), The Oregon Garden and Silverton Fire and Rescue.
“This burn of a 12-acre unit within a grove of white oaks is the second phase of a project begun last year,” said Oregon Department of Forestry’s Chris Paul.
The earlier work reduced overgrown vegetation through manual brush removal, tree pruning and herbicide treatment. The aim of the ongoing project, he said, is to create conditions characteristic of the original oak savanna, a lightly forested grassland dominated by oak trees.
The burn will be ignited around 1 p.m. and is expected to be completed in about two hours. It will be staffed by the agencies’ firefighters to contain it within the boundaries of the unit. ODF meteorologists are monitoring weather and wind conditions to minimize smoke intrusion into Silverton. The prescribed burn will be rescheduled if conditions aren’t optimum on Monday.
He said forest fuels such as Himalayan blackberry, Scotch broom and other non-native and invasive plant species will be removed to encourage the growth of camas and other native plants and grasses.
The burn will be visible from the deck of The Oregon Garden Fire Safety House, a new life-sized exhibit that features fire-safe home construction material and design improvements, fire-resistant landscaping plants, and a self-guided interpretive tour on how to reduce the surrounding fuels that could cause a wildfire to encroach on a home.
“Silverton residents and visitors to The Oregon Garden should expect smoke in the area during ignitions and as the fire smolders down,” he said.
The forester advised residents who are sensitive to smoke or have pre-existing respiratory problems to limit their outdoor activities on the day of the burn, particularly during the afternoon, and to keep windows closed. More information about how to limit exposure to smoke is available at: www.deq.state.or.us/aq/burning/wildfires/visibility.htm.
The prescribed burn will also serve as a training tool for firefighters to work with live fire and hone their skills in wildfire suppression tactics.