U.S. Forest Service utilizes time to prepare for fires and help abroad

The U.S. Forest Service's IFPL stages, referencing to fire risks. (Sammy Shaktah/ News 10)

The risks of fire dangers increase as temperatures rise. The ground loses moisture. Vegetation dries and becomes potential fuels for future fires.

This time last year a series of lightning storms ignited an estimated 100 fires in the region.

Jackson and Josephine County experienced 49,246 acres of burnt land during Oregon Department of Forestry's declared fire season last year.

So far, this year's calmer weather has allowed the U.S. Forest Service time for preparations and prevention. They’re clearing debris from forest roads, getting data on the forest fuel loads, and maintaining critical equipment.

“Well, the downtime gives us a lot of opportunities basically we’re in a state of readiness right now," Fire Staf Officer Eric Hensel said.

Not only does this allow for local preparation and prevention. It allows resources to be sent elsewhere to help aid in fires abroad. Aid in fighting fires makes a huge impact when resources may be stretched thin.

"We’re monitoring the weather and we’re in close communication with the national weather service monitoring any critical weather events that may occur. We’re taking advantage of this downtime and getting additional funding secured so that if we do have these kinds of events we can bring additional resources in," Hensel said.

While skies may be clear locally, smoke from fires is burning elsewhere, where help is needed.

“We’ve sent hot shots and other resources out to Alaska as well as other resources to the southwest area to support their fire fighting effort in hopes that when we increase our fire danger out here and have more activity out here, they will, in turn, send their resources out to us to assist us in our firefighting effort,” Hensel said.

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