Photos: Tribe Conducts Prescribed Burns near Myrtle Creek

 In Announcements, Public Announcements

Prescribed burns on Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal lands near Myrtle Creek in late September progressed as planned, according to Tribal staff.

Staff prepped and conducted controlled burns on the Dole and Hurd properties Monday and Tuesday, before rain showers arrived Wednesday.

Burns on the Lilja property were set to begin in early October, however a change in weather conditions forced them to delay the burn until next year.

Crews worked with support from the Douglas Forest Protective Agency (DFPA) to ensure burns were carried out safely. Former Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Board member, Rob Estabrook, led the burns with over 20 other staffers on site from DFPA, Cow Creek Natural Resources and Forestry, Cow Creek Emergency Management, Umpqua Indian Development Corporation (UIDC), and Umpqua Indian Utility Cooperative (UIUC). Current Tribal Board Member Gerald Rainville also assisted with controlling the burns.

According to Nathan Jackson, Senior Director of Corporate Services for UIDC, the burns were implemented to reduce wildfire fuels on the land, but also for agricultural reasons. Jackson said the burns will help improve soil health, and encourage other beneficial plant species, such as White Oak, to grow in the area, while discouraging weeds.

“[We are] putting regular, low-intensity fire on the ground, much in the same way that the Cow Creek people have used this important tool for generations,” he said.

Burning has been used by Indigenous people as a method of land management for thousands of years. In conjunction with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Cow Creek Natural Resources and Forestry teams are also preparing other densely stocked Tribal lands in the Elk Creek Watershed near Tiller for prescribed burns.

Burns on the Dole and Hurd properties were part of multiple other prescribed burns around Douglas County this week that were permitted and supervised by DFPA.

The Dole, Hurd and Lilja properties are clustered together north of Myrtle Creek and south of Roseburg on both sides of Interstate 5, near milepost 112.