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BLM prepares Elk Creek plan

The agency will take comments through Feb. 24 on watershed, including the fire area

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management seeks public input as it prepares a management plan for the Elk Creek watershed, including land scorched by last summer's Timbered Rock fire.

The comments will help guide the agency as it creates an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the watershed, said Jeanne Klein, the BLM's Medford District spokeswoman.

Sparked by a lightning storm in mid-July, the fire burned about 27,000 acres in the watershed.

The blaze burned about 12,000 acres of BLM forest land, some 10,500 acres of privately owned industrial timberland, 2,600 acres of national forest land, 610 acres of land managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The rest was private land.

The EIS will analyze various approaches to helping restore BLM land burned by the fire, but will also provide an opportunity to consider similar work within the larger watershed, officials said.

The work could include everything from salvaging fire-killed timber to taking no action, Klein said.

According to BLM estimates, there are from 5 million board feet to 40 million board feet of fire-killed BLM timber that could be salvaged, depending on the logging method used.

However, no decision has been made whether to salvage any BLM timber killed by the fire, Klein reiterated.

Environmental activists generally oppose salvage logging following a fire, citing the potential for environmental damage.

Shortly after the fire was extinguished, the agency launched several projects to reduce erosion in the burned area, including mulching firelines and seeding some areas with native grasses and sterile rye seed.

Roads opened for fire crews were also blocked, mulched and seeded.

The agency plans to hold two open houses to gather input to be used in the EIS.

The first is scheduled from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Medford District office, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford.

The second open house will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Upper Rogue Community Center in Shady Cove.

Comments also can be sent by regular mail to BLM, Comments, DEIS Timbered Rock, 3040 Biddle Road, Medford, OR 97504.

In addition, comments can be made by FAX to 541-770-6634 or e-mailed to or110treis@or.blm.gov.

The comment deadline is Feb. 24.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at