If you see smoke coming from the northwest corner of Howard Buford Recreation Area —do not panic. Lane County is conducting a prescribed ecological burn-- weather permitting. The plan is to do it this afternoon [Thursday Oct. 2nd.]
The Pacific Northwest wildfire season has made its mark. Oregon and Washington have already topped the nation in total acres burned. With so many fires still uncontained, the sight of smoke sparks immediate concern. But not all fires are equal.
The burning of grasslands near Mount Pisgah is planned to manage the vegetation in the Spring Box Savanna to help re-establish historically native plants and animals. Chris Orsinger is Executive Director of Friends of Buford Park.
Orsinger: "Mt Pisgah is known for its prairies and oak savannahs. These habitats are very rare now in the Willamette Valley—less than 2% remain. And there is a host of species like the Western Meadowlark, our state bird, that depend on them for nesting habitat—and are otherwise in decline."
Orsinger says recent rains have reduced the risk of operating the burn. There will be wildland firefighters and fire engines on the sight. The park will remain open at the main trailhead but the north trail will be temporarily closed during the burn.