Prescribed burns to start in the Umpqua Valley

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- You may start to notice smoke again in our area, but officials say it's not to worry about: The fires are intentional.

The Douglas Forest Protective Association says that as moderate temperatures and higher humidity returns to the Umpqua Valley, residents will start to see smoke throughout the county.

This is due to ranchers utilizing prescribed fires to prepare their land for next year.

Officials say the effect on populated areas will be minimized by only allowing the burns to take place when weather patterns are favorable.

Officials with the DFPA monitor burning conditions and wind direction to predict where smoke will travel.

Prescribed fires are only permitted when it appears that smoke will travel away from large populations.

Despite the high fire danger in wildland areas this time of year, prescribed burns are made safe by the construction of fire trails and the presence of fire suppression equipment and personnel.

Landowners must be able to show that they have the ability and resources to maintain control of a prescribed fire.

Once fire trails are approved by the DFPA, and weather conditions are favorable, a permit may be issued to burn.

On average, about 10,000 acres are burned annually to improve habitat and pasture lands in Douglas County.

Officials say that without burning, these lands would become overgrown with poison oak, blackberry bushes, noxious weeds and other brush. The burning process eliminates these fuel loads that can turn small, manageable fires into large, out of control fires.

Smoke columns from prescribed fires will be visible as the weather permits.

Residents are reminded that DFPA's Regulated Use Closure remains in effect on all DFPA protected land, and all other types of burning are still prohibited.