The agreement covers fuels reduction work on 700 acres of land within Shevlin Park, the Tree Farm neighborhood and adjacent national forest lands. The prescribed burning will reduce the impacts of a large fire on the City of Bend and improve forest health and wildlife habitat.
Forest Service personnel will implement the prescribed burning on both the private and public lands. Forest Service personnel prescribed burning on non-federal lands is allowed under the Wyden Amendment authority, Section 323(a) of the Department of Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1999.
Doing prescribed burning on national forest lands and the Tree Farm neighborhood starts Tuesday, May 31, weather permitting. Burning in Shevlin Park will not occur until 2017. It is expected that burning on the 700 acres will take two to three years to complete, with burns occurring primarily in the spring and late fall.
Prescribed burning these areas, in addition to the ongoing burning between Phil’s trailhead and Cascade Lakes highway, will complete a relatively continuous series of prescribed fire treatment areas that connect the Two Bulls fire area to the north and the Deschutes River to the south.
“This is a great agreement, which exemplifies how managing wildfire risk can be a community-wide effort,” said Kevin Larkin, District Ranger for the Deschutes National Forest’s Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District.
“The project is aligned with several Greater Bend Community Wildfire Protection Plan goals including reducing hazardous fuels on public lands, reducing hazardous fuels on private land and increasing education and awareness of the wildfire threat,” continued Larkin.
“We see carefully planned prescribed burns as a great tool for improving the health of our surrounding forests and keeping communities safe,” says Romy Mortensen, Project Manager for the Tree Farm. Protecting The Tree Farm and the west side of Bend from wildland fire is a top priority for us. The prescribed burn not only provides for a safer forest, it actually provides a healthier forest for wildlife habitat as well. We are very happy to collaborate with the USFS on this project.”
The prescribed burn area within Shevlin Park will be an excellent classroom to educate the public on the important role that fire plays in Central Oregon’s forest ecology. Prescribed burning in the new Tree Farm neighborhood open space land demonstrates a proactive approach to reducing wildfire risk and is an example of private landowners recognizing the important role that fire plays in the ecology of Central Oregon.
Partners in The Tree Farm LLC include the Miller family which has owned and managed the land since 1955, and West Bend Property Company 2, which include the developers of NorthWest Crossing: Brooks Resources and Tennant Developments.
For an interactive map of prescribed burns in the Central Oregon, visit www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/