EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Prescribed burns began today in the West Eugene Wetlands. The burning was set parallel to the Amazon bike path, along Amazon Creek.
The Eugene District Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says the fires are necessary for the wetland ecosystem. Though many people voice health concerns with the rising smoke, the BLM wants to assure residents they take a lot of precautions before setting prescribed burns.
“Well, we do work with LRAPA, and we do wait for the most ideal circumstances before we would set a burn,” says Michael Mascari of the Eugene BLM.
“One of the things we look for is the wind direction and the wind speed, because the last thing we want to do is to smoke out the valley. So we're very careful to make sure the temperatures and the conditions are ideal. That it's not too windy, it's not too dry, it's not too hot.”
Mascari says they've already had a couple burns this summer in rural areas. There may be a couple more before the end of the year.
He says the fires not only help the wetlands immensely, they also offer a great training opportunity for first-time firefighters.