Concerns growing of a Douglas Complex repeat

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Fire season is right around the corner, and after last summer's devastating Douglas Complex fires, landowners have been busy trying to avoid a repeat.

It's been about 8 months since the Douglas Complex burned 50,000 acres, and private land owners say they've been working aggressively ever since to salvage logs and begin reforestation.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the decisions of public and private land owners as they decide how to manage adjacent lands affected by the fire.

"The best way to prevent that re-burn potential is to actually physically remove that standing dead tree, especially on a ridge top or the upper slope in a basin," said Phil Adams, the Land & Timber Manager for Roseburg Forest Products.

The Bureau of Land Management says the landowner must follow strict land use regulations under the Northwest Forest Plan. "The area that burned in the Medford district is designated under the Northwest Forest Plan for timber production, so we're focusing our salvage operation there. The area that burned in the Roseburg District was designated under the Northwest Forest Plan for habitat purposes," said Steve Lydick, field manager for the South River Resource Area.

But Javier Goirigolzarri from Communities for Healthy Forests says regardless of the forest plan, they can't leave everything standing as it is. "If it's not removed to some base level, safe level, it's going to present a very long term fire risk, not only to that land that's burned, but to all the adjacent lands," he said.

However these lands are managed in the wake of the Douglas Complex, concerns remain from everyone as what is expected to be an early fire season approaches.