Jackson County working to reduce Greenway fire danger
It appears the Bear Creek Greenway is reverting back to the wildfire conduit we saw with the Almeda fire. Does Jackson County plan to do anything about it?
― J., Ashland
In late April the Jackson County Board of Commissioners authorized spending $457,000 to remove blackberry bushes and other flammable vegetation along the Bear Creek Greenway.
The goal is to stop vegetation from growing back after the 2020 Almeda fire burned through the area.
County crews and other partners had already been working to remove vegetation along the Greenway before the new infusion of funding.
Stretching from Ashland to Central Point, the paved walking, biking and jogging path crosses land under the jurisdiction of the county and cities, plus private property and Oregon Department of Transportation land.
Jackson County commissioners are now considering whether to close off-trail areas along county sections of the Greenway during fire season. An illegal campfire or a dropped cigarette is all it could take to start another inferno.
In the long term, the county is working with cities, ODOT, private landowners and others to develop a comprehensive plan for dealing with flammable vegetation along the Greenway. However, that plan won't be ready before fire season, which starts Wednesday.
Figuring out how to fund the never-ending work of fuels reduction remains a major hurdle.
Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.