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Tolman Creek burns should slow soon

There have been quite a few controlled burns in the Ashland Watershed as of late. Any estimates on when it will be all wrapped up?

— Via email

“We are locked in to being stewards of our forests for the long term,” said Ashland Fire & Rescue Forestry Division Chief Chris Chambers. “The fuels keep growing and accumulating, and fire is our best tool to manage the fire danger on an ongoing basis.”

Fire crews conducting seasonal burns in the upper Tolman Creek drainage area of the Ashland Watershed have about 86 acres to go, Chambers said. To date, crews have burned about 170 acres in that area.

“A lot of that came in a two-week pulse where they’re really concentrated in that one zone on the south end of town,” Chambers said. “That’s probably why it seemed like it was never going to end.”

“Anytime there’s one big burn in a particular area, there’s going to be some smoke impact,” he added. “We do our best to keep that smoke away from communities.”

A 60-acre burn is expected in March or April, along with 6 acres worth of burns performed by a private landowner, and a 20-acre burn could happen as soon as the end of February.

“It’s going to slow down a little bit,” Chambers said. “There will be a couple of busy days, but then we’ll be done in that area, probably for the entire year. But we will need to be back.”

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