TILLAMOOK STATE FOREST, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry executed a 116-acre prescribed burn Wednesday. The event sent huge plumes of smoke high into the air near Browns Camp in the Highway 6 corridor. The burn aimed to remove woody debris that remained after the recent completion of the Fighting Phellini Timber Sale.
ODF workers lit the controlled fire via aerial ignition at 10 a.m. The firing, conducted by a helicopter, concluded around noon. Department fire engines were standing by at the site, along with four hand crews from the South Fork Forest Camp, to ensure the burn does not escape the designated boundaries.
The name of the timber sale refers to Phellinus weirii, a disease commonly known as Laminated Root Rot, which afflicts Douglas-fir and other tree species. The broadcast burn is consuming logging slash and debris deemed unmarketable due to damage from the disease. ODF will replant the site with alder trees, which are immune to Laminated Root Rot.
“It was extremely important to conduct a broadcast burn,” said ODF dispatcher Megan Ehnle. “It is not only removing fuel on the ground ahead of the wildfire season, but it will also provide a better landscape to be reforested.”
The large burn understandably generated concern among local residents, she said. Ehnle thanked local 911 centers and fire departments for fielding and answering numerous calls from the public.
In addition to renovating the harvested site for replanting young trees, the burn operation provided a training opportunity for ODF personnel that are involved in fighting wildfire during the summer.