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Crater Lake plans 3 prescribed burns this fall

Three prescribed burns are planned in Crater Lake National Park this fall. The park is expected to remain open during those times. [Mail Tribune / file photo]

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK – Three prescribed burns are planned in coming days and weeks at Crater Lake National Park.

The park’s fire management staff are preparing to conduct three prescribed fire projects in the park this fall along Highway 62 South, near Mazama Village and Munson Valley.

According to a press release, the Highway 62 South project includes 50 acres of piles and material that were cut last year along the highway starting at the park’s southern boundary and continuing 3.5 miles to the north along the roadway.

The Mazama Village unit will include 64 acres of piles and material that were cut last spring around the Mazama Campground and developed area.

The Munson Valley Defensible Space unit includes 25 acres of piles that were cut around historical structures, administrative offices and park housing in Munson Valley.

Fire management officer Ed Waldon said Crater Lake’s fire managers plan to begin burning the piles in the next few weeks and will continue burning through the fall as conditions allow.

“Weather, fire behavior and smoke forecasts will be monitored before, during and after the burns to ensure desired fire effects are achieved. Fire management personnel will patrol and monitor the prescribed fires until they are completely extinguished.”

The release notes the National Park Service uses thinning, the mechanical removal of small-diameter trees and brush, and prescribed fire “as a tool to help reduce the intensity of wildfires by removing excess accumulations of forest fuels that have resulted as a consequence of over 90 years of actively suppressing fires. This project will not only provide much needed defensive space around critical park structures but will also improve forest health and protect wildlife habitat by reducing the amount of dead woody debris that can lead to larger and more intense fire events.”

All park roads and trails are expected to remain open during the prescribed fire operations. Motorists should watch for signs and reduce their speed, as personnel and equipment are working on and adjacent to the road.

For more information, call Crater Lake National Park’s Fire Management Officer at 541-594-3062.

Reach freelance writer Lee Juillerat at 337lee337@charter.net or 541-880-4139.