Bend
48° F
Clear
Clear
Advertisement

Wilderness poses unique challenges to firefighters

By John Hendricks
Published On: Sep 19 2012 12:31:07 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's John Hendricks reports from the Pole Creek Fire the unique challenges the wilderness poses for firefighters.

BEND, Ore. -

The Pole Creek fire continues to burn 5 miles southwest of Sisters. The blaze has now consumed 17,500 acres but by Tuesday night was 20  percent contained.

"We are fighting this fire very assertively in the wilderness and using a lot of the mechanized equipment available to us," Deschutes National Forest Supervisor John Allen said Tuesday

The fire has been burning in the Three Sisters Wilderness, protected by the Wilderness Act, established by Congress in 1964. The act designated land within the national forests free of any mechanical devices including bicycles.

The laws also apply to firefighting equipment. Officials with the Deschutes National Forest said Tuesday fire bosses can request to use chainsaws, water pumps and other equipment. They also must get permission to dip water out of lakes and to land aircraft within the wilderness.

"We try to reduce the impacts on the natural resource,” said Kirk Flannigan of the Sisters Ranger District. “We don't want to impact the water resource and we try to reduce the impacts the visitor is going to see out on the trails."

The Forest Service says they have not given permission to use bulldozers withing the wilderness.

"We have not sought approval of bulldozers in the wilderness that approval would have to come from my boss, the regional forester in Portland." said Allen

Comments

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement