Fire Fuels Reduction Project Update

Fire is a natural part of a healthy ecosystem.  Wildfires are a common occurrence in Central Oregon due to our high summer temperatures, low precipitation and humidity and numerous lightning strikes.

Fire can provide long-term benefits to forest and watershed health;
however, high intensity or large wildfires can result in significant increases in runoff and erosion, which can negatively impact water quality.
Low - moderate intensity wildfires can encourage vegetative succession and promote diverse habitats.
Low – moderate intensity wildfires can encourage vegetative succession and
promote diverse habitats.

Due to the urban interface, fire suppression is common practice. This is important when saving life and property but it does not make for healthy natural areas.  Park officials deal with vegetation management by thinning and burning.

Juniper Thinning Project spring 2014 (3)

Last year, a contractor was hired to thin some of the Juniper trees in the Deschutes Campground and Day-Use areas to lessen the potential effects of wildfire in the park. (Wood from this project was donated to local senior citizens that needed it for winter). You may have seen piles of cut branches in the park over the summer in 2014.

Ranger Supervisor, Chris Gerdes stands watch over a controlled burn near the Deschutes Campground.
Ranger Supervisor, Chris Gerdes stands watch over a controlled burn near the Deschutes Campground.

While some of the piles were left in place for erosion control and wildlife habitat; other areas were carefully burned over the winter and early spring of 2015.

This summer, see what has popped up in our burned areas…

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