The fall ecological burn program could begin this week with the potential for prescribed burns in West Eugene Wetlands and other local areas. Burning is planned on approximately 900 acres between now and the end of October. Individual burn units range from less than an acre to 130 acres.
We carefully consider weather conditions and burn only on days when the wind is forecasted to blow smoke up and away from nearby residential areas and roadways. For this reason, we usually cannot specify days burning will occur more than 24 hours in advance.
The City of Eugene along with partners in the Rivers to Ridges Partnership participate in these controlled burns each year on lands throughout the southern Willamette Valley to protect and restore valuable biological diversity in prairie and savanna ecosystems. These ecosystems require regular management to preserve native species and to prevent conversion of open prairie to a closed woodland or forest. Additionally, since many of our natural areas and private residences are located in the wildland-urban interface, it is especially important to reduce fuel levels by removing standing dead vegetation to decrease the chance of uncontrolled wildfire.
Partner agencies include:
Experienced and highly trained fire crews manage these controlled burns using detailed burn plans, which include extensive prescriptions for conducting the burns to provide maximum protection for the community. The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency reviews and approves the plans, specifying conditions under which the burns may proceed. Approximately 700 acres were successfully burned in this way in 2018.