March 29, 2013
The Smoke Management Review Committee will discuss the tracking of prescribed burning alternatives and emission reduction techniques when it meets on April 1 in Salem. Other highlight items on the agenda include: protection of Class 1 Wilderness Areas, special protection zones, and a presentation on 2012 wildfires and their impact on air quality.
The Committee includes representatives of the public, federal agencies, the forest industry, air quality regulators, and small woodland owners. The members are knowledgeable about smoke management issues and Oregon’s Smoke Management Plan. The Oregon departments of Environmental Quality and Forestry provide staff support to the committee.
The primary objective of Oregon’s Smoke Management Program is to provide maximum opportunity for essential forestland burning, while preventing smoke from accumulating in smoke-sensitive receptor areas and other areas sensitive to smoke. After timber harvest, forest landowners may reduce the risk of wildfire through controlled or “prescribed” burning of unmarketable tree residue commonly known as slash. This removes potential fuel for a wildfire. It also prepares the logged site for replanting by releasing nutrients and removing vegetation that would otherwise compete with the young trees.
Burning in the fall shortly after wildfire danger subsides reduces smoke emissions and enables more complete removal of slash.
Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologists monitor weather conditions throughout spring and fall as they coordinate hundreds of burning requests from private and public forest landowners. This oversight helps minimize smoke intrusions into communities. Management of forest fuels through prescribed burning greatly reduces the risk of large wildfires that can pump thousands of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.
The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Santiam Room – Building D, Oregon Department of Forestry headquarters, 2600 State Street in Salem.
The meeting is open to the public, and public comment will be taken at 10:20 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.