Using control burns to clean out the forest floor is not only a good thing, it makes our forests healthier

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Sep 232017

Losing an entire forest because of thick vegetation on the ground under the trees…
BLM photo

The current wildfire season in Central Oregon, and in many areas around the West, has been called one of the worst in human history – with an emphasis on “human” history. Long before humans with their fire trucks, borate bombers and bulldozers came on the scene, Mother Nature pretty much took care of her forests using a natural resource – namely lightning. Lightning was the fire starter that caused enough fires so that fires seldom got so big it would take down an entire forest or watershed. The “understory” brush and smaller trees were periodically “cleaned out” to allow the already established forest to grow big and tall, purifying the air and providing cover and shelter for wildlife, not to mention the cleanest water on the planet.

But then along came Smoky the Bear. The message from an animal (that should have known better) became the mouthpiece for fire-avoiding humans who believed fire was the enemy of the forest rather than it’s closest friend.

Lightning continued to set Mother Nature’s summer cleaning routine. But because humans had cut her fires short, the forest floor literally disappeared behind a wall of undergrowth that now burns so hot and with flames so high, that the lower branches of trees ignite and blow up and entire forest.

Smoky the Bear’s family never had a chance. They were killed along with other wildlife that suffered due to human-kind’s utter ignorance of how forests came to be and how they thrive.

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But today, humans are beginning to catch on that fire is the best friend a forest has. But, rather than relying just on lightning to do the job of “house cleaning,” local, state and federal forestry officials have increasingly committed themselves to conducting strategically targeted “control burns,” hoping to catch up with Mother Nature in her eon’s old campaign to produce the best forests the world has ever seen. The article below clearly illustrates that our forest managers, right down to private forest property owners, have seen the light on being better stewards of our forest lands.

From U.S. Forest Service

Did you know fire can be good for people and the land? After many years of fire exclusion, an ecosystem that needs periodic fire becomes unhealthy. Trees are stressed by overcrowding; fire-dependent species disappear; and flammable fuels build up and become hazardous.

So, as a matter of fact the right fire at the right place at the right time can be quite beneficial:

* Reduces hazardous fuels, protecting human communities from extreme fires;
* Minimizes the spread of pest insects and disease;
* Removes unwanted species that threaten species native to an ecosystem;
* Provides forage for game;
* Improves habitat for threatened and endangered species;
* Recycles nutrients back to the soil; and
* Promotes the growth of trees, wildflowers, and other plants;

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The Forest Service manages prescribed fires and even some wildfires to benefit natural resources and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires in the future. The agency also uses hand tools and machines to thin overgrown sites in preparation for the eventual return of fire.
More prescribed fires mean fewer extreme wildfires.

Specialists write burn plans for prescribed fires. Burn plans identify – or prescribe – the best conditions under which trees and other plants will burn to get the best results safely.

Burn plans consider temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. Prescribed fire specialists compare conditions on the ground to those outlined in burn plans before deciding whether to burn on a given day.

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Weather or Not: A Bit of Oomph

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Sep 232017

Saturday, Sep. 23rd – Lincoln County

Summary: Sunny with light winds yesterday; increasing clouds overnight.

Past 24 Hours High/Low/Gust/Rain…
Lincoln City: 60F/50F/8mph/0.00”
Depoe Bay: 63F/45F/11mph/0.00”
Newport: 59F/46F/18mph/0.00”
Waldport: 62F/50F/15mph/0.00”
Yachats: 59F/47F/17mph/0.00”

Newport Airport Conditions…
Ceiling: overcast 9,000’
Visibility: 7 miles/Wind: calm/Altimeter: 30.11”

Forecast: A low-pressure system with a bit more oomph than projected pushed into Western Washington overnight from the Gulf of Alaska and is now disturbing our weather here on the Central Coast. Cloudy skies are possible through much of today, even a slight chance of rain, light winds and a high about 60F. Tonight, overcast, low of 50F. The Sun should return tomorrow, and the mercury rises into the low-60s. Outlook is for another minor system to affect us on Monday as clouds return and a chance of rain develops, then mostly clear Tuesday through Friday. Daytime temperatures warming above seasonal to 65-70F, falling to 55-60F overnight.

wxon-twitterBe sure to follow Weather or Not’s Twitter feed to keep current on the latest conditions. You’ll get updated travel info and notification of any new advisories, watches or warnings. Follow @chrisburnswx.

Travel: In the Coast Range this morning, highways are dry, temps 45-50F. Willamette Valley roads are dry, thermometer readings near 50F. The Columbia River Gorge has dry pavement, temperatures 55-60F, and I-84 remains closed in places due to wildland firefighting operations. For the Cascades, highways are mainly dry, 35-45F, the free air freezing level is 8,000 feet.

* Outlook for weekend travelers is possible wet pavement in spots today, then dry roads at all elevations including the Coast Range and Cascades tomorrow and tomorrow night.

* An interactive map of the latest Northwest/Central Oregon travel weather is available here. Also, motorists should always visit ODOT’s TripCheck before hitting the road.

Marine: Winds are variable 5-10 knots this morning, with seas 5 feet at 8 seconds. Not much marine weather to talk about for the next 5 days with winds less than 15 knots and seas 5 feet or less. As a thermal trough builds north along the coast early next week, small craft advisory northerlies are possible by Tuesday night. * Full text of the latest marine forecast is available here. And, make sure you check the latest Bar Reports before venturing offshore.

On the Beach… Mostly cloudy, light winds, surf 3-4 feet (low).
* For a safe and enjoyable time on the Central Coast, the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department offers these Beach Safety Tips.
* Tides
09/23 Sat 8:41 AM 1.65 L
09/23 Sat 2:51 PM 8.26 H
09/23 Sat 9:18 PM 0.57 L
09/24 Sun 3:40 AM 7.10 H

In Short: Mixed skies, slight chance of rain, then clearing and warmer.

Big 4-H Event Coming Up in Newport!!!

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Sep 232017

Open House to Showcase 4-H Fun and Opportunities

Newport, Oregon (September 21, 2017) — For the 75th consecutive year, millions of youth, parents, volunteers and alumni across the country will be celebrating National 4-H Week during the first full week of October. Lincoln County 4-H will leverage National 4-H Week this year by showcasing the incredible experiences that 4-H offers young people at its 4-H Open House, Thursday, October 5 from 4 to 7pm at the OSU Extension Office (1211 SE Bay Blvd, Newport). Stop by to meet 4-H youth and leaders who will be sharing their experiences and inviting you to join the fun!

Lincoln County 4-H youth and leaders work each day to make a positive impact on their community and those around them. Not only do youth learn new skills ranging from archery to zoology but they also give back through community service projects and sharing what they learn with others. By fostering competence, confidence, connection, character and caring, the 4-H Program helps develop youth who naturally contribute more and grow into adults ready for life beyond school.

“4-H is all about creating opportunities for kids to find their spark,” says Lincoln County 4-H Program Coordinator Todd Williver. “We love to see the passion ignite in our youth, and we know that these experiences engage them in a way that provides a positive path to the future.”

Lincoln County 4-H offers a wide variety of participation opportunities, from afterschool programs to subject-specific workshops to traditional 4-H clubs. Youth can explore science, technology, shooting sports, fine arts, life skills, crafts, cooking, sewing, raising animals, horsemanship, dog handling, leadership, public speaking and so much more. Because the focus of 4-H is positive youth development, the Lincoln County 4-H motto is – if you want to explore it, we can help create a 4-H project around it.

Key to any successful 4-H program is its volunteer leaders. Lincoln County is always seeking new adults to join its team of volunteers and welcomes all levels of commitment, from regular club leaders to project participants to event specific help. Potential volunteers are encouraged to come speak with current leaders at the Open House to find out how they might be able to contribute.

4-H alumni around the country are always the first to acknowledge the significant positive impact 4-H had on them as young people; the opportunities and experiences that 4-H provides youth empowers them to become true leaders. In fact, research has shown that young people in 4-H are almost four times as likely to contribute to their communities, and are twice as likely to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs in their free time.

The Russians tried to hack Oregon’s vote last November….failed.

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Sep 222017

The votes last November were not hacked in Oregon, per election officials.

A large number of states across the country, including Oregon, report that the Russians tried to hack some of their information systems during last November’s vote count…but they were unsuccessful. That’s because, like Oregon, voting machines themselves are not on line. There’s no way that hackers, from the other side of the world, would have access to voting machines in Oregon. However, access to internet connected computers such as those based in the the state capitol and in county seats, containing voter information, could be tampered with. Election officials contend that the votes tallies added up before they’re sent to Salem so the vote counts are secure.

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Harvest Auction at Logsden Community Club Oct. 7

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Sep 222017

Logsden Community Center
Archive photo

Logsden – The annual Logsden Community Club Harvest Auction will be held on Saturday, October 7, from 6-9pm. The largest fundraiser of the year for the Logsden Community Club, this annual event continues to delight those that attend. An abundance of garden fresh vegetables and fruit, plants, fresh baked culinary delights, home canning, unique and one of a kind items, gift certificates and gift giving items beyond imagination will be included in the auction. Hot dogs will be on sale prior to the auction. This family friendly event promises to be a fun and entertaining evening for everyone!

The Logsden Community Club donates a portion of its’ profits back to the community including the Siletz Valley Volunteer Firefighters.

The Logsden Community Center, located at the junction of the Logsden/ Siletz Highway and Moonshine Park Road, is situated on a historic site where the local school once sat. Todays’ facility, built in the 1980s, is available to rent and is a wonderful location for local gatherings including weddings, family reunions, memorials and other celebrations. The facility also houses a commercial kitchen for cottage industry entrepreneurs who market culinary items and is a designated emergency shelter.

Rental rates for events at the center are reduced for individuals who become members of the Logsden Community Club. The cost to join is $25.

For further information contact Teresa Simmons @ 541-992-2709.