Portland Parks Prescribed Fire Program

A Portland Fire Bureau fire fighter administers a controlled burn on Powell Butte in 2009.
Portland Parks & Recreation is partnering with the Portland Fire Bureau on a prescribed fire program that will help reduce the risk of fire, reduce the harmful effects from insects and pathogens, and improve the overall health of our park lands.

Program Overview

Fire has always been an integral part of the health of Oregon’s ecosystems. By observing fire’s effects, people have learned that they can use it for specific results on the ground. The practice of intentional burning is called prescribed burning. Native American practitioners call it “cultural burning” when it is used to meet cultural goals. The objectives behind prescribed burning are diverse and include:

  • Improving habitat for wildlife.
  • Improving the health of forests and rangelands.
  • Reducing wildfire risk.

Prescribed burns allow fire crews to remove hazardous flammable material at a time of our choosing, when resources and conditions are more favorable. This decreases the chance of a larger fire in the area as things dry out over the summer. For prescribed burns in City natural areas, PF&R will typically have several fire engines, ATV’s and other resources on scene. The ATV’s and some of the engines that will be utilized are specially outfitted to tackle wildland fires. Burn activity may take several hours and then crews continue to monitor the area for any heat after the blaze is extinguished.

Current/Upcoming Prescribed Fire Sites

Whitaker Ponds Natural Area / Monday, September 25, 2023: