The State of Oregon is watching the weather. Very low snow pack, and a warmer than average winter is showing a high potential for fires this summer.
Fortunately, we had several days of heavy rain before the weather broke into full-fledged summer. Even as it rained, the warmer nights brought on a growth spurt for the hay fields, the garden, and for all the pasture areas. This rain break was good news for the fire danger in the area, and has moved Fire Season back by at least two weeks.
We cooperate with the Forest Service in monitoring for wild fires, keeping appropriate fire fighting tools in working order, and avoiding dangerous practices that could lead to a wild fire. Billboards go up in the area at the official start of fire season and the Forest Service has the information on-line so all residents are up to date with fire potential and what restrictions are in place.
The farm is located in timber country at the edge of what was the most devastating wild fire in the State of Oregon. The Tillamook Burn has forever changed the way of loggers and logging operations in Oregon. The miles of tall Douglas fir, white fir, and large leaf maples create a lot of fuel for a wild fire.
I have found an interesting site regarding the Tillamook Burn published by the Oregon Historical Society.
The largest of the four fires—and the most devastating—began about noon on August 14, 1933, in a logging operation on the slopes above the North Fork of Gales Creek, west of the town of Forest Grove. The near-record weather conditions on that day (104 degree temperature with a relative humidity of about 20 percent), a tinder dry forest ready to burn, and the remote location of the fire, combined to ignite and feed a challenging fire.
Rules at the farm follow many of the Forest Service guidelines. Respect and adherence to forest practices become second nature. Reducing fuel around building sites by keeping trees and vegetation away from structures. Knowing where fire tools are and how to use them. Avoiding dangerous activities such as driving a motor vehicle through dry grass or timber land. We do not allow fireworks here on the farm even though they can be legally bought and set off, it is just too dangerous around the forest.
Now that the rain has stopped, it’s time again to trim back. I’ll be hitting the roadsides again and get them mowed short, the taller shrubs will get a hair cut, and the lower limbs will be cut from the taller trees.