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Fire District 3 creates wildfire fuels collection site

Rogue Valley residents in the Fire District No. 3 coverage area have a new option for disposal of debris they have removed from their property to mitigate wildfire danger.

The agency, which responds to fires and other emergencies in Central Point, Gold Hill and Eagle Point, has opened a wildfire fuels collection site next to the Dodge Bridge fire station, 60 Rogue River Drive, Eagle Point. Residents within the district can drop off natural fuels cleared from their properties, with no paperwork or appointment required. District officials will haul the debris away at no charge.

The dropoff site opened Thursday. In it’s current form, it’s a 1/2-acre site that’s been sectioned off.

“But as the weather permits and the ground dries up a little bit, we can use up to a full acre,” said Capt. Tom Kerley of Fire District 3.

Shrubs, tree limbs, pallets, leaves, pine needles, vines and clean wood debris (wood that isn’t painted or treated) can be dropped off. Furniture, painted or treated wood material, household trash, construction debris and stumps are prohibited.

There is a surveillance camera on site, and a “resident volunteer” who lives nearby will also be keeping an eye on things to make sure accepted materials are the only items dropped off.

“We’re trying to give people the opportunity to do the right thing,” Kerley said. “There’s risk associated with having properties without having appropriate defensible space. We’re just trying to eliminate those hurdles.”

“We’re experimenting,” he added. “We’re trying to figure out what works.”

The agency also continues to offer a trailer that residents within the district can borrow by appointment. Program participants can load debris on the trailer, and district officials haul it away at no charge. The department is also looking at eventually acquiring a chipper, which officials said the department would use for the dropped-off debris. Program participants would then able to pick it back up in chipped form if desired. For now, crews will haul debris off to Biomass One for disposal.

“We’re not quite there yet,” District 3 community engagement coordinator Heather Sears said of the chipper. “It’s going to be dependent on what we get, how much we get.”

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.

Fire District 3 photoJackson County Fire District No. 3 has opened a site where residents within the district can drop off woody debris cleared from their properties. The department will then haul it away at no charge.