The Environmental Protection Agency is seeking public comment for rule changes that would allow more smoke in Oregon from prescribed burning on forest lands.
The State Implementation Plan’s Smoke Management Plan revisions allow for more prescribed burning while still protecting public health within any federal, state, and private forest lands in Oregon.
Prescribed burning is a tool that has been used for hundreds of years, first by Native Americans and now by public land managers, as well. It’s a way to restore and improve forestlands by burning fuels like brush, smaller trees, and dead vegetation. Scientists say prescribed burning also helps reduce wildfire risks to nearby communities that may fall victim to massive wildfires.
But Smoke Management Plan rules have made the practice difficult to carry out. Communities that have already been heavily hit by low air quality were off limits to additional air problems from prescribed burning.