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Prescribed Burning
What is prescribed burning?
Elijah Bristow State Park Prescribed Burn
Prescribed burn at Elijah Bristow State Park
The use of carefully controlled fire to meet restoration objectives.
 
 
For hundreds or even thousands of years, most ecosystems in Oregon evolved with fire as a natural disturbance.  Lightning would ignite fires at periodic intervals, as often as every 1-10 years on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, and as infrequent as every 100 years on the west side of the Cascade Mountains ("Fire Ecology of Pacific Northwest Forests", James K Agee, 1993). In addition, Native American tribes would often use fire as a tool for collecting plants and managing wildlife travel corridors.
 
With the arrival of white settlers on the Oregon Trail in the mid 1840’s, so came the arrival of wildfire suppression.  Today, one can see the results of more than 100 years of fire suppression, particularly on the east side of the Cascade Mountains.  Open, park-like forests of large trees have been replaced with dense stands of small trees and large accumulations of dead trees on the forest floor.  These forests are extremely vulnerable to devastating insect attacks and stand-replacing wildfires.   
 
OPRD foresters have joined forces with foresters at the Oregon Department of Forestry and the OSU Extension Service, and are developing restoration projects for several park properties. 

Prescribed Burning Projects

Booth Wayside
Elijah Bristow State Park