Pisgah burns

Jen Blue

The Mount Pisgah fire on Aug. 15 that burned over 50 acres was caused by a lawn mower, county officials said.
A call came into fire crews about noon last Thursday. Locals with emergency alert text messages configured on their phones were notified of the danger around 1 p.m. and throughout the day.
In an ironic twist, a fire ignited after a contractor working for the county was mowing the grass as part of a restoration project at the park, said Devon Ashbridge, Lane County public information officer. The contractor was mowing fire lines for a future prescribed burn, when the contractor reportedly hit an object – likely a rock – causing a spark, and ultimately a fire.
The fire, within the park’s Eastern Meadowlark Unit, was largely fueled by dry grass, timber and shrubs. No buildings were reportedly affected. Ashbridge said that roughly 20 people were evacuated from the park, and there were no known injuries.
Ashbridge said that the mower was operating within the appropriate guidelines.
The 2,363-acre park is the largest of Lane County’s 70-plus parks and is a popular area for hikers, equestrian riders and nature catalogers. The park’s access was shut down through the weekend so that fire crews could remove all heat and hazards.
Most trails reopened this week, but the Eastern Trailhead will remain closed, including the parking area. Trail 46 between trails six and two will remain closed. Trail six will remain closed between the Eastern Trailhead and its junction with Trail 56.
The Department of Forestry worked with Lane County Parks, Lane County Emergency Management, Oregon State Police, Oregon Department of Transportation and multiple private contractors and The Willamette National Forest.
That same day, along Highway 58 near milepost one, on the shoulder of the road,Pleasant Hill Goshen Fire & Rescue crew members identified more than 75 discarded cigarette butts after walking 100 feet in dry grass.
As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI). Human-caused wildfires often result from unattended campfires, debris burning, downed power lines and discarded cigarettes.
”Please help continue to educate anyone who chooses to smoke, throwing them out your window is never an option,” the fire crew’s post reads.
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Last year, an estimated 2,019 wildfires burned 897,263 acres in Oregon.
According to the Oregon-Washington Bureau of Land Management, the DOI is working to implement preventative measures to limit the size and scope of wildfires, treat current wildfires already underway, and protect wildfire-prone. The DOI plans to treat more than 1.2 million acres.
Additionally, this year, the BLM began analyzing a 11,000-mile stretch of strategic fuel breaks to combat wildfires in the Great Basin, which includes portions of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah, according to a release. The analysis is intended to better control wildfires within a 223 million acre area. The environmental impact of the proposal is still being evaluated.



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