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Ashland controlled burns to be discussed with residents

ASHLAND — The city is working to notify residents about controlled burns planned for the watershed this fall and winter, after fuel-reduction burning in October resulted in dozens of calls from concerned residents still on high alert after last summer's Oak Knoll fire.

Ashland Forest Resiliency officials will hold a community meeting from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Ashland Fire Station No. 1, 455 Siskiyou Blvd., to discuss the controlled burning planned for the watershed.

Officials will explain why they conduct controlled burns, how crews work to keep smoke away from the city and details about where the burning is expected to take place.

The exact dates of the controlled burns haven't been decided because the burning is dependent on weather conditions.

Last month, the city conducted controlled burns of brush piles in upper Lithia Park and Strawberry-Hald Park to reduce fuel for wildfires.

Workers are thinning and burning vegetation to help reduce wildfire danger and increase forest health, according to the city.

Fuel-reduction work on the city's forestlands helped contain the Siskiyou fire in 2009 and the Lithia fire in 2007, the city said in a release.

The city's Parks Department will secure burn permits from Ashland Fire & Rescue and the Department of Forestry before conducting the controlled burns. Open burning in the city limits must meet standards for safety and air quality.

Ashland Fire & Rescue grants burning permits only for wildfire fuel-reduction work and noxious weed management. For more information, call the Parks Department at 541-488-5340 or Ashland Fire & Rescue at 541-552-2066.

Information on the controlled burns will be recorded on the city's wildfire hotline, 541-552-2490.