A previously planned prescribed burn of nearly 35 acres in St. Helens that was postponed in June due to unfavorable conditions is expected to take place this Saturday, Aug. 24 around 1 p.m., Columbia River Fire and Rescue Fire Marshal and Division Chief Jeff Pricher explained.
The burn had initially been scheduled to take place June 29 and 30, but the grass became too wet during that time and the humidity was too
high to properly conduct the burn.
"The weather has wreaked havoc on our plans for completing this project," Pricher said, referring to the delays.
While prescribed burns aren't incredibly common in Columbia County, they allow firefighters to remove invasive plants and also give firefighters from throughout the region a chance to practice firefighting skills. Some of those techniques include learning to create fire lines, or breaks in fuel sources, Pricher previously explained.
The last prescribed burn in Columbia County took place in 2015.
While Columbia County received rainfall on Wednesday, Pricher said the grass should be sufficiently dry by Saturday. Grass falls under the designation of fuel model one, Pricher explained, which means it dries out quickly.
"If we get significant rain and fuel is still wet, we're going to have problem," he added.
As of the Spotlight's press time Thursday, the prescribed burn was slated to take place. Crews are expected to have fire on the ground by the early afternoon on Saturday, and Pricher warned residents that smoke will be visible in the area, but it's normal for the type of work the firefighters are doing.
"We're going to have a significant amount of resources," Pricher added. "We'll have enough to have resources for the fire and for contingency, in the event that something goes not as planned."
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