More than six months after the devastating wildfires of September 2020, researchers at Oregon State University are studying the impacts of the fires on watersheds and forests.
The Archie Creek Fire burned more than 131,000 acres in Douglas County, including an area where OSU already has gathered data. The Hinkle Creek study was established in the early 2000s. It looked at modern logging systems’ impacts on water and forests. OSU College of Forestry researcher Kevin Bladon said this is a unique opportunity.
“We can go back and then disentangle the effects from the fire from what is natural background variability at these sites and that will provide really valuable insights for us in terms of fire effects,” Bladon said.
The Hinkle Creek study area is on 5,000 acres of second-growth timberland owned by Roseburg Forest Products.
Bladon and his colleagues are also collaborating with Eugene Water and Electric Board and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on a stream study in the McKenzie River watershed.
“The type of fire season we had this year, this is likely to occur again in other years,” said Bladon. “And I think we have an opportunity to collect data that can help us to be prepared to manage that in a much better way in the future.”
The Holiday Farm Fire burned more than 173,000 acres and destroyed more than 400 homes in the valley.