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Prescribed fire preparation to begin in Shevlin Park and Riley Ranch

November 14, 2016

To reduce the risk of a catastrophic fire in Shevlin Park and to accelerate field restoration at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve, Bend Park and Recreation District is beginning prescribed fire preparations as part of its vegetation management plan for the parks.

At Shevlin Park, visitors may observe employees conducting tree thinning, understory brush mowing and slash pile burning to help reduce hazardous fuel loads and prepare for next year’s prescribed fire efforts. The work is expected to be on-going for several months and visitors may hear machinery and observe small amounts of smoke from slash piles.

The hazard fuel reduction area is located in Shevlin Park on the south side of Johnson Road.  Next year’s prescribed fire will begin immediately south of Aspen Meadow and the parking lot.  It will extend to the east near the Tumalo Creek Trail and west near the old railroad grade. Signage is in place to inform park visitors about the work.

In addition, beginning Monday, Nov. 14, the District and Deschutes County will use fire for a field restoration project at Riley Ranch Nature Reserve scheduled to open in 2017.  A field burner towed behind a tractor will be used to burn up to 50 acres.  The work is expected to be finished in about a week and is unlikely to produce much smoke in the area.

“Re-introducing fire to Shevlin Park and Riley Ranch will provide numerous benefits to the park’s natural resources,” said Jeff Amaral, natural resources manager for Bend Park and Recreation District.

The goals of the 2017 prescribed fire as well as the overall vegetation management plan are to:

  • Maintain plant communities that are resistant to a large scale disturbance
  • Create and maintain a landscape that is resilient to disturbance
  • Create and maintain wildlife habitat
  • Maintain natural aesthetics for increasing recreational opportunities
  • Preserve the historical and archeological heritage of parks

“Historically, fire was the main disturbance that created and maintained Shevlin Park’s vegetation species composition and densities.  Without fire, the park’s landscape drastically changed with less resilient plant species and increased risk of a catastrophic fire,” he added.