A Safer South Eugene: Wildfire Risk Reduction in Ridgeline Parks Funded by BLM

CITY NEWSPosted on: July 25, 2016

Armenian Blackberries and Scot's Broom often choke smaller utility rights-of-way in the area.

Armenian Blackberries and Scot’s Broom often choke smaller utility rights-of-way in the area.

In 2015, City of Eugene Parks and Open Space Division and the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department were successful at bringing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Community Assistance funding to the City, thanks in part to a long history of collaboration with BLM’s Eugene District office. POS will receive funding again in 2016. In close coordination with the BLM, approximately $200,000 will be spent on tasks related to reducing wildfire risk on City-owned parkland in Eugene.

The funds will be used to reduce fuel loads and providing access on City-owned land in the Ridgeline park system by removing dense thickets of invasive vegetation and overstocked trees. Dense vegetation combined with steep and inaccessible areas make this area vulnerable to wildfire and pose challenges to wildfire response. A fire at the wildland-urban interface in Eugene is a significant hazard and could cause substantial harm to homes, businesses, critical communication towers, transmission power lines, other electric utilities, and water reservoirs.

POS is currently planning to implement these projects at Suzanne Arlie Park, Coryell Ridge, South Eugene Meadows, and Blanton Ridge. Work may begin as early as July 25th.

Another component of this effort is community outreach designed to provide Eugene residents with tools and resources to reduce wildfire risk around their homes and to plan for their protection in the event of a wildfire. A website, www.eugene-or.gov/teamup4firesafety, is up and running to connect residents to vetted national fire prevention programs.