Private lands shut for fire season
July 1, 2021
A group of private timberland owners decided on Monday to close public access to their lands. Seneca, Lone Rock Resources, Giustina Resources, Campbell Global, and Giustina Land & Timber Company combined own around 600,000 acres, in Western Oregon.
With drought conditions and above-average temperatures, Oregon is already experiencing a bad fire season. The number of fires so far this year is already 1.5 times higher than the 10-year average, and the acreage affected has been more than four times greater than the ten year average.
The landowners say they had been monitoring fuel conditions this spring, as well as reviewing snowpack, weather forecasts, and drought impacts. The limited precipitation across the region this spring significantly affected the moisture content of woody debris, as well as the condition of live vegetation fuels and their susceptibility to fire ignition and spread.
Most of Oregon’s wildfires are started by people, causing landowners to be concerned that public visits to private land have the potential to be dangerous for both the public and the timberlands.
“This historic heatwave is smashing records. It is important for us to proactively close our lands down to the public for the safety of our timberlands, firefighters, and all Oregonians,” said Casey Roscoe, Seneca’s senior vice president of marketing and communications.
Affected areas incude timberland in Benton, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn, and Polk counties.