Chetco Bar Fire Burns Redwoods

As summer comes to an end, thankfully so do the wildfires that have been plaguing Oregon for months. But the job of tallying up the damage has only just started. 

The Chetco Bar Fire, which was the largest wildfire recorded of the season, moved into the Wheeler Creek Natural Area where one of only four redwood groves exist in the state. According to the United States Forest Service, the fire burned 25 percent of the old-growth redwoods in the area. 

The redwoods were growing in a 600-acre preserve in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, which is located just north of the California border, about 20 miles southeast of Brookings. 

According to a Facebook post by Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest officials, firefighters performed a “backburn” along the 1205 road to reduce the amount of ground fuel in the area, thus keeping the intensity of the fire down near the trees. 

Without this precautionary measure, things could have been much worse. Luckily, old-growth redwoods have thick bark, which makes them fairly resistant to fires of weak, or even moderate intensities.

Firefighters were instructed to use “indirect attack” methods to combat the fire, but preserve the trees. However, due to peoples’ homes located only a few miles away, they were also told to use more aggressive tactics when necessary.

By Nick Stollings