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Newspaper Archive of
The New Era Paper
Sweet Home, Oregon
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October 24, 2012     The New Era Paper
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October 24, 2012
 

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1) , ra - October 24, 2012 VOUR COMMUNITY Page 9 Fire season ends with largest blaze of year By Sean C. Morgan Of The New Era The weather is wet. Fire season is finished. The bum ban has ended. Fire danger is low. Ironically, the biggest fire of the season on the Oregon Depart- ment of Forestry Sweet Home Unit happened after the official end of fire season. "We're there," said Craig Pet- tinger, acting Sweet Home unit for- ester. We're done. We have closed fire season. Backyard burning is open, as you can tell if you drive through town." The burn ban ended at 8 a.m. on Oct. 16. Fire season ended the same day. Pettinger expected that slash burning would probably start this week. The Willamette National For- est also announced fire danger was low and no fire season restrictions remained in effect. Last week, the Sweet Home Unit had a run up Courtney Creek Drive, Pettinger said, but the fire didn't amount to anything. The biggest fire of the season, on Thursday, burned 16.5 acres east of Mallard Creek Golf Course, Pet- tinger said. The fire started when a debris burn got away while no one was watching it. Lebanon Fire Department provided engines and a tender to assist the Sweet Home Unit. The fire, reported at about 4:30 p.m., was out within an hour, Pet- tinger said. The grass fire reached timber and shade and pretty much put itself out. The Sweet Home Unit had a few firefighters on duty putting things away for the season when the call came in, Pettinger said. All but two seasonal firefight- ers finished working last week, he said. Two remain on this week to winterize equipment. Overall, the season was sl0w, with 66 fire calls, Pettinger said. "It was slow to start," Pet- Linger said. The weather was wet late and didn't really dry out until about September. Then the weather turned hot and dry, with more than 100 days of no significant rain. The problem with a late sea- son is when it extends into hunting season, Pettinger said. With more people in the woods, there will be more problems since most fires are caused by humans. At the same time, the seasonal firefighter crew -shrinks as school starts. Most area landowners had closed or restricted access to their property as the fire danger started spiking at the end of September and beginning of October. Some are still closed, Pettinger said, but others have started open- ing. Hunters should call individual landowners for closure informa- tion. Two of the largest inthe Sweet Home area are Cascade Timber Consulting at (541) 367-2111 and Weyerhaeuser at (888) 741-5403. Visit oregon.gov./ODF/pages/fire/ corporate closure.aspx for more phone numbers. Sweet Home Unit Forest Pro- tection Supervisor Chad Calder- wood said slash burning will prob- ably begin this week. Forest owners will use fire to remove logging slash from their lands, creating space for tree plant- ing and controls competing vegeta- tion. Oregon's Smoke Management Plan enables landowners to use such bums, though they must mini- mize the intrusion of smoke into populated areas. "We're really concerned about the fuels that are going to be burned as well as expected wind and weather conditions, and proximity to populated areas we're trying to protect," said Nick Yonker, Oregon Department of Forestry's meteorol- ogy manager. During the prescribed burning season, staff meteorologists moni- tor weather and wind conditions hourly to gauge the optimum tim- ing for burns to occur. When a burning request comes in, they search for a window in time when the smoke is likely to rise up and away from nearby communi- ties. Before allowing a burn, they also consider cumulative impacts. If several area landowners want to burn, ODF may stagger the per- mits to limit the quantity of smoke. In western Oregon where native Douglas fir is the most commercial- ly desirable tree species, prescribed burning boosts replanting success. Shade-intolerant Douglas fir seedlings need a lot of sunlight so that they can thrive and eventually overtop surrounding vegetation. In 2011, prescribed forest bums were conducted on 161,154 acres in Oregon. The 10-year average is 154,163 acres burned annually. The U.S. Forest Service had meadow restoration burns scheduled this fall for 124 acres on Browder Ridge, 150 acres on Echo Mountain and 30 acres in the Lodgepole Flats area, but spokes- woman Jennifer Velez said the sud- den arrival of rain doused that ef- fort after five acres were burned at Lodgepole. "It rained us out of the window for successful burning," she said. Photos courtesy of the Sweet Home Public Library From left, Austin Blaydoe, 11, and Skylar Crites, 8, show off their wounds from the Sweet Home Public Library's Friday Mad Science program. Participants learned how to make fake wounds just in time for Halloween. Up- coming events include Lego Mania on Nov. 2 and science day on Nov. lO from lp.m. to 3 p.m. Movie night, featuring "Chimpanzee," is at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 29. For more information call (541) 367-5007. A__ NE/CLOTHING s ACCESSOR ES & Sheila Sneddon, EA#79392JLTC#26291-C Licensed Tax Consultants I Enrolled Agents Affordable Individual Income Tax Preperoto. Payroll, Bookkeepg & Business Services CHECK OUT OUR SALES/CONTESTS & MORE ON OUR FACIqBOOK PA(;F L.A. Idol Miss Chic Grace in I.A Cello YMI Our Fashion Boutique Bicycle Repair Parts Sales www.facebook.com/JCSLebanonBikeRepair Full Service Bicycle Shop John Smith 630 Main St O;,'r Lebanon, OR 97355 Ph: 541.405.5054 LI le-i-- N u 00APPLIANC E. In(:. 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