Bureau of Land Management creates massive wildfire hazard on Oregon ranch

August 10, 2016

A Ranch in Eastern Oregon

The operators of a ranch in the high desert of Eastern Oregon took the pictures featured below, on and around the ranch. Pictured are thousands of downed juniper trees, felled as part of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Juniper Eradication project in Oregon.

This, and similar Juniper removal efforts are being done by the Bureau of Land Management, purportedly in an effort to protect Sage Grouse habitat.

Juniper trees thrive in arid and windy high desert climes throughout the West. And, although it is good forestry practice to thin, log, and clear dead trees and undergrowth, in this case the BLM is to be raising the risk of fire in the Oregon high desert by felling trees without actually clearing them. What has resulted are countless dead trees strewn over thousands of acres, where they have been left to dry out and become potential kindling for wildfires. Where the trees are not lying where they fell, they have been piled high, creating tangled walls of dead trees and branches, immediately next to the roads leading in and out of the ranch.

The operators of the ranch said they have been “begging the BLM to clean up this mess (downfall, brush & juniper) for over 10 years, ( as have their parents before them).”

They also indicated that the BLM started cutting juniper trees in June of this year, during the height of Oregon’s fire season. The federal agency dropped more than 5,000 acres of Juniper trees, surrounding the ranch and into the adjacent  Mormon Basin. The ranchers claim that none of the juniper downfall abutting 3 sides of the ranch, which was cut and piled up by the BLM, has been cleaned up in over 40 years.

It’s easy to see how a spark or lightening hit will ignite these Juniper trees like gasoline-soaked tinder.

These ranchers are have not received a satisfactory answer to why the BLM has’t disposed of the wildfire fuel they created with this project.

Thousands of felled juniper (brown, between green, living trees)

Thousands of felled juniper (brown, between green, living trees)


Trees piled along both sides of the road, creating potential fire trap


Dead trees, brush stacked several feet high along roadside


Entire hillside covered with mounds of felled trees, branches, offal


Tangle of branches and dead trees along the road, threatening to fall into the road, potential fire trap


Dead trees piled at the top of a hill


Photographs courtesy of Devil’s Canyon Ranch

Posted by  8/10/16

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