- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) - A patch of land intentionally set on fire burned hotter than intended, resulting in scorched portions of the forest canopy and an unknown number of dead or dying trees that the controlled burn was supposed to help, authorities said.

The 65-acre (263,000-square-meter) forestland near Ashland was burned last month as part of the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project, the Mail Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2tuVFcv ). The project’s goal is to improve the Ashland watershed while reducing wildlife fires.

Darren Borgias of The Nature Conservancy said the controlled burn did not damage the forest duff or soils, did not jump its boundaries and injured no one. But large “legacy trees” were killed, which have been under study in the Rouge River-Siskiyou National Forest.

“We got more scorched trees than we wanted,” said Don Boucher, Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project manager. “Some will live. Some will die.”

The burn represents “a fantastic opportunity” to learn more about controlled fire management, Borgias said, calling the burned land just a “small footprint.”

The scorched area represents about one-fourth of the nearly 250 acres (1,000,000 square meters) burned this spring as part of the project, which used fire, logging and commercial brush-thinning to improve the Ashland watershed.

“We’ll actually know how much of the canopy is impacted, and we’ll also look at those legacy trees,” Borgias said. “We want to look at this on a landscape perspective. It really is, though, a small footprint.

“It’s not torched. It’s scorched.”

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Information from: Mail Tribune, https://www.mailtribune.com/

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