Buford Park Closes Temporarily Due to Extreme Fire Danger
(photo credit: Inciweb)
Lane County Parks and other stakeholders, including Friends, made the call Thursday afternoon to close the park to the public, both to keep any accidental fires from being sparked and to ensure that no park visitors could be injured and pull emergency services away from other potential needs in the area.
This past weekend saw some of the worst weather for fire that we've had all year. Warm, dry air and smoke from the east traveled over the Cascades, causing relative humidity to plummet and with it, a rapid increase in the potential for catastrophic wildfire.
Communities closest to Eugene were spared, but hundreds were without power for several days and the Cedar Creek fire near Oakridge expanded from 30,000 acres to over 80,000, causing the evacuation of the town of Oakridge.
With thick smoke settling in the McKenzie, Middle Fork and Coast Fork Willamette watersheds, communities experienced dangerous air quality, with Air Quality Index measurements reading well into the "Hazardous" range. Eugene water and Electric Board and Eugene People's Utility District de-energized power lines as a precautionary measure starting Friday evening. The forecasted high winds increased the potential for power line damage, a known cause for catastrophic wildfires in California.
Are you curious about prescribed fire and ecological burning? As Friends enters our prescribed fire season, volunteers interested in supporting prescribed fire efforts are needed. This means everything from helping prepare tools and supplies before a burn, rolling up fire hose afterward or joining our trail sentinels, keeping park visitors safe during prescribed burns.