• rachaelpope

Fuel reduction helped firefighters keep trailer fire small in southern Oregon

Despite a high fire danger level, wildland firefighters were able to quickly contain a fire near this southern Oregon town that might have become a much larger blaze.

Firefighters with the Douglas Forest Protective Association and other local responders credit being able to keep the Spring Brook Road Fire to a tenth of an acre in large part thanks to fuel reduction work done years ago and maintained on the property through the Firewise USA program.

Kyle Reed serves as a fire prevention specialist for DFPA and was familiar with the property from earlier work he arranged there. “This particular fuels reduction treatment focused on removing ladder fuels, which consists of brush and young trees that are mixed in and around the dominate trees,” said Reed. “By reducing the ladder fuels, in addition to pruning the dominate trees that are left on the landscape, a fire is more likely to stay on the ground and burn less intensely. And that is exactly what we saw on the Spring Brook Road Fire.”

The fire started the evening of Sunday, July 26 in a travel trailer two miles northeast of Myrtle Creek in Douglas County.  The fire had spread from the trailer to surrounding vegetation and was slowly moving up a hillside when firefighters arrived.

While the fire extensively damaged the travel trailer and fully consumed two passenger vehicles and an outbuilding, it wasn’t able to gain much of a foothold in the surrounding landscape. No civilian or firefighter injuries were reported and firefighters were able to leave the scene by 9 p.m. after mopping up hot spots and securing control lines.

Firewise USA® is a national education and outreach program that provides a framework to get local communities organized, find direction, and take action to reduce ignition risk to their homes, property and community.

There are currently 189 established Firewise USA® communities in Oregon, according to National Fire Plan Coordinator Jenna Trentadue with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“These communities are doing their part to protect themselves and their neighbors from the threat of wildfire,” said Trentadue. “With the technical expertise from local fire agencies and departments, and the efforts of community members, the Firewise USA® program has been a great success in Oregon.”

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