The weather may be a bit warm for late April but the smoke you may see wafting up from the local woods for the next few days is likely not from a wild fire.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Medford District is conducting prescribed burns in the region to improve forest health while reducing the potential for a catastrophic wild fire come summer.
"We have a nice little weather window now to do some burning," said district spokesman Jim Whittington.
"If it gets much warmer, we would be out of prescription but it is supposed to start cooling down for the next couple of days," he added. "I suspect we will be burning through Saturday, and maybe Sunday and Monday, depending on the weather."
The agency has burned some 400 acres in recent days in Jackson and Josephine counties, including 164 acres today.
That included 58 acres in the Butte Falls Resource Area near Cobleigh Road. The area is east of Shady Cove and off the Butte Falls Highway.
In the Grants Pass Resource Area, crews have been burning 108 acres in the Reeves Creek drainage some three miles north of Kerby.
All told, the district plans to burn between 1,300 and 1,500 acres this spring, Whittington said.
"But whether we get the weather window to accomplish that is another story," he said, citing the whims of Mother Nature this time of year.
A list of planned burns is available at 541-618-2354 or 1-800-267-3126.
— Paul Fattig
Read more in Thursday's paper