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Fire atop Skinner Butte raises fireworks concern in Eugene

(Originally posted on The Register-Guard on July 2, 2024 – Photos from Eugene Springfield Fire Department and Eugene Parks and Open Space) By Haleigh Kochanski A half-acre brush fire erupted at the top of Skinner Butte in Eugene early Tuesday morning and fire officials think it may have been caused by fireworks. According to the Eugene Springfield Fire Department, firefighters were called to the butte at 12:15 a.m. where they worked quickly to contain a fire estimated at half an acre. It took first responders about two hours to fully extinguish hot spots. The site of the fire had just undergone vegetation management by Eugene Parks and Open Space in partnership with the Eugene Rotary Club and Twin River Charter School. On June 24, workers trimmed grasses in the area, which Eugene officials say likely reduced the intensity of Tuesday’s fire. “This timely action underscores the importance of ongoing maintenance and hazard reduction in preserving the safety of our natural areas,” Kelly Shadwick, spokesperson for Eugene Parks and Open Space, said in a news release. According to Shadwick, fuel mitigation efforts at the park have focused on removing non-native shrubs and small trees that have invaded a significant portion of […]

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Crews extinguish early morning fire atop Skinner Butte

(Originally posted on KLCC on June 27, 2024 – Photos from Eugene Springfield Fire) By Love Cross Eugene Springfield Fire responded to a brush fire at the top of Skinner Butte in Eugene early Tuesday morning. Firefighters were called to the butte at 12:15 a.m. and contained the fire, estimated at half an acre. It took two hours to fully extinguish hot spots. There were no injuries reported. Witnesses said fireworks may have been the cause. In a news release Tuesday, Eugene Parks officials said the area had recently been treated for fuels reduction by Parks and Open Space in partnership with the Eugene Rotary Club and Twin Rivers Charter School. “On June 24, grasses in the area were trimmed, a preventative measure that likely reduced the intensity of the fire. This timely action underscores the importance of ongoing maintenance and hazard reduction in preserving the safety of our natural areas,” the press release said. With the Fourth of July holiday approaching, the public is reminded fireworks are not allowed within Eugene city limits, including parks and natural areas.

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A Summer of Service at Grays Lake

(Originally posted to CaribouCountyNews.com on June 27, 2024) The Grays Lake Refuge includes both riparian areas, which are muddy and wet, and these meadowlands, which are where the cattle are part of a management strategy. This summer, the Grays Lake National Wildlife Refuge 30 miles north of Soda Springs had a new group of visitors.  While the area is set aside as a refuge for wildlife with, in many cases, seasonal migratory habits, it also hosted a group of young people from around the country for several weeks.  In cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Grays Lake Wildlife Specialist Dana Duran, the Idaho Conservation Corps sent a group of seven individuals to help with projects related to the area’s mission to preserve the local ecology and wildlife. Conservation is also something that Fish and Wildlife’s Dana Duran places a high value on.  As the primary overseer of the Grays Lake area, she’s committed to making sure that the area stays well managed for both human and wildlife needs.   Dana Duran began her work at Grays Lake last October, and she’s still getting to know the Gray’s Lake Marsh and the ecosystem, though she seems to have

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Leave It to Beavers – Renewing rivers one rodent at a time

Originally from: https://www.patagonia.ca/stories/leave-it-to-beavers/story-149108.htmlBy: Amanda Monthei All photos by Greg Mionske It’s barely above 50 degrees in a mountain meadow at the headwaters of the John Day River, deep in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. Dew soaks the ground, and the consensus is that today’s work conditions are already significantly better than yesterday’s. “It was the hardest day this year,” says Alex, a 19-year-old Northwest Youth Corps crew member sipping coffee from a mug covered in faded stickers. A random thunderstorm blew through yesterday morning and caught him without his rain jacket. Weather and morale have improved significantly in the last 24 hours. Alex and the rest of the four-person crew from the conservation service and job-training program, as well as three Trout Unlimited employees, pull on mud-caked boots and waders, finish coffees and collect their tools—chainsaws, an errant bundle of shovels, towers of five-gallon buckets, branch loppers and wooden posts shaped like enormous pencils, shouldered two at a time. “If all goes according to plan, a passing beaver might see these human-made dams, complemented by the soft, pooling water they love, and think, ‘This is nice … but I could do better.’” Shifts start at 7 a.m., and although

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How LGBTQ youth are building community through conservation work

On an August morning, the Rainbow Conservation Crew woke and had breakfast at a campsite in Mount Rainier National Park before commuting three miles by foot with McLeods, Pulaskis, and peaveys—tools used for trail work and wildland firefighting—to their worksite on the historic Wonderland Trail. For the past few weeks, the small group of teenagers had been hacking at sections of the 93-mile trail that circumnavigates Washington’s Mount Rainier—or Tahoma as it is known to the local Puyallup tribe—gliding like a roller coaster through alpine meadows, temperate rainforests, and rivers fed by glacial runoff. Mel Hanby, the group’s leader-in-training, was working his third summer with the Northwest Youth Corps (NYC) after joining the Rainbow Crew in 2017, the nation’s first LGBTQ youth conservation corps. As a longtime volunteer, Hanby was taking on more responsibility in the backcountry as he oversaw the teenagers alongside senior leaders Ernie Callaghan and Ash Young. One of the crew’s main projects over the five-week program was to construct an urgently needed bridge over a dangerous crossing of the Carbon River. “The youth corps is not a summer camp,” Hanby says. “For many of us it’s our first paid job, and it comes with a lot of responsibility.” He explains that in order for youth

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Youth crews help protect homes from wildfire thanks to state-funded training

Originally from: https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2022/10/youth-crews-help-protect-homes-from-wildfire-thanks-to-state-funded-training.htmlBy: Sami Edge | The Oregonian/OregonLive Lindsay Nava hauled branches up a long wooded driveway near Grants Pass under the burning midday sun on Tuesday. Her blonde hair, tucked into braids and bound back with a bandana, poked out from underneath her orange hard hat while she felled trees and limbs, building a pile to turn into wood chips. Nava, 22, is on a five-person team of young people working to clear fire hazards from around homes and buildings in Southern Oregon, through a new effort funded by the Legislature in 2021 as part of a sweeping $195 million package to boost Oregon’s wildfire preparedness. The Oregon Conservation Corps program allows young people to develop the skills to become wildland firefighters and land managers while helping vulnerable communities mitigate fire risks. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission, which distributes the funds, expects nearly 400 corps members ages 16 to 26 to work on crews overseen by tribes, schools and nonprofits around the state. Crew members on Nava’s Northwest Youth Corps crew receive a $4,235 stipend and $1,678 for school costs during their 10-week assignments, during which they camp near their worksites. The crews learn to use chainsaws and power tools and take courses that

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