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Biscuit fireAs mountain pine beetles and other insects chew their way through Western forests, forest fires might not seem far behind. Lands covered by dead trees appear ready to burst into flame.
However, an analysis of wildfire extent in Oregon and Washington over the past 30 years shows very little difference in the likelihood of fires in forests with and without insect damage. Indeed , other factors – drought, storms, and fuel accumulation from years of fire suppression – may be more important than insects in determining if fire is more or less likely from year to year.

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Off Beat Oregon History

Burn inspectorsBy Finn J.D. John
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story of Oregon’s Tillamook Burn of 1933 is not what happened, but what didn’t happen.
Three decades before the Tillamook Burn, the wildfire known as the “Yacolt Burn” — really dozens of simultaneous fires all across Oregon and Washington — lit into the states with a savage ferocity and blinding speed. It engulfed whole towns, destroyed sawmills and chased frantic loggers out of doomed camps. And it chased down 35 people and burned them alive.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

Mummy berriesBy Denise Ruttan
Watch your blueberries this spring for a type of fungus that has zombie-like qualities.
A fungus called Monilina vaccinii-corymbosi can infect blueberry fruit with a disease called mummy berry. Fruit falls on the ground and withers into shriveled-up berries that seem deceased.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.