July 14, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Half-acre brush fire on Skinner Butte shows benefits of fuels reduction

2 min read
Witness statements indicate fireworks may have been the cause of the July 2 fire.

from Kelly Shadwick, Eugene Parks and Open Space

Eugene Springfield Fire worked July 2 to suppress a brush fire at the top of Skinner Butte. Firefighters worked quickly to contain the fire estimated at half an acre.

The site of the fire had just undergone vegetation management by Parks and Open Space in partnership with the Eugene Rotary Club and Twin Rivers Charter School.

Grasses in the area were trimmed June 24, a preventative measure that likely reduced the intensity of the fire. This timely action underscores the importance of ongoing maintenance and hazard reduction in preserving the safety of our natural areas.

Eugene Parks and Open Space has been working since 2007 to reduce hazardous fuel loads. In 2017, Skinner Butte became a priority for several fuels reduction projects that have helped preserve and protect the butte over the past seven years.

These projects have focused on removing non-native shrubs and small trees which had invaded a significant portion of the natural area in the park, greatly changing its character and increasing the risk of a damaging fire.

Removing dense, overgrown vegetation and small dead cedars on the slopes decreases the chance of a wildfire from reaching the tree canopy and improves ESF’s ability to respond to a fire – as we saw Tuesday morning.

With help and funding from the Bureau of Land Management’s Community Wildfire Assistance grant program, these preventative actions have improved safety for neighboring residences, businesses and park visitors.

Witness statements indicate fireworks may have been the cause of the July 2 fire.

A spark can ignite a wildfire in just moments. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, the public is reminded that fireworks are prohibited within Eugene city limits, including parks and natural areas.

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