Prescribed fire season has arrived at Crater Lake National Park and staff will be applying prescribed fire to the landscaping in preparation for the upcoming fire season.
Marsha McCabe of the National Park Service said hand thinning of small trees and brush, and brush pile burning this material with prescribed fire is commonly used by fire managers to not only improve forest health and wildlife habitat but also provide defensive space around structures and escape routes in the event of a wildland fire. McCabe said these techniques are part of the agencies continued commitment to protecting park visitors and employees, as well as the park’s valued natural and cultural resources from wildland fire.
A release said warmer temperatures, reduced snowpack, adequate humidity, and favorable winds are improving the conditions needed for firefighters to start applying fire to strategically planned areas. Nearby residents and visitors may notice smoke or fire at the park in various areas during the next few months.
McCabe said prescribed fire occurs on days when the Oregon Department of Forestry Smoke Management Office indicates there are suitable weather conditions for smoke dispersal. Following that approval, if overall fuel and weather conditions are favorable, firefighters ignite a test fire before moving forward with the prescribed fire. If the test fire indicated conditions are not suitable, the fire will be postponed until conditions improve. The park will be burning small diameter trees and brush that have been cut to ensure safe and effective access and egress into the park, and to provide defensive space around historic structures and critical infrastructure in the event of a wildland fire.
Those in the area can anticipate fire crews and smoke within the following areas in the near future:
*Highway 62 – south of the park’s entrance station to the park’s southern boundary
*Mazama Campground, near Mazama Village
*Steel Visitor Center and Park Headquarters