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Oregon's damp April limited prescribed burns

Brian Bull
A firefighter trainee uses a drip torch to set fire to some brush outside Eugene, Octo. 2021.

April showers may bring May flowers, but they also delayed prescribed burns across Oregon last month.

All through April, moderate to heavy rainfall as well as some snow put a literal damper on forest agencies’ plans to do prescribed burns. These deliberate fires help deprive fuels from potential wildfires later in the year, as conditions turn hot and dry.

Chris Donaldson is deputy fire staff officer for Northwest Oregon Interagency Fire Management.

“We’ll continue to look at the forecast and see when we have conditions that allow us to burn both from the moisture content that we have out there," he told KLCC. "And also from smoke management concerns to make sure that if we have conditions that are conducive to burning fuels.”

Donaldson said in the last few years, spring has been drier and warmer than usual, which prompted crews to do burns ahead of the hotter summer months.

“Once we got into April though the amount of rain that we received, really kinda pushed us out of the ability to do any prescribed burning. Which is good as far as it’s keeping fire danger low, and we’re not going into fire season early this year.”

Donaldson said they’ll check the May forecast, but it may be a couple weeks before they’ll try again.

Copyright @2022, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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