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Since You Asked: Almeda fire complicates greenway firewood removal

Is any of the wood available from trees that were damaged by the fire on the greenway for local folks who have fireplaces, and would they be able to cut their own?

— Susanne P.

We’d like to say come and get it, Susanne, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

We reached out to Gary Leaming at the Oregon Department of Transportation, which is spearheading much of the tree and brush removal in the wake of the Almeda fire.

Because the cleanup effort is being led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the wood is required to be brought to a stockpile location.

So far, 400 trees have been removed along ODOT’s right-of-way, and many more trees have been removed along the Bear Creek Greenway.

Because of liability issues, local residents can’t fire up their chain saws and hit the Bear Creek to get their own firewood. Also the wood is on a mixture of private and public land, which would require approval before any wood was removed.

It turns out that 80% of the trees are cottonwood, which is not great for burning anyway.

Once the downed trees have cleared the Federal Emergency Management Process, local agencies will have a better idea as to what they can do with the wood.

Leaming suggests local residents who need firewood should call the Jackson County Fuel Committee at 541-488-2905.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.