Fire puts smoke plume up over Willamette Valley

Fire puts smoke plume up over Willamette Valley
Smoke from a prescribed burn visible across the southern Willamette Valley on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 (Chris Liedle/KVAL News)

JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - A private fire company ignited on logged-over land to prepare the tract for replanting sent a towering plume of smoke up over the Willamette Valley.

Tom Soward with the Oregon Department of Forestry in Veneta said the prescribed burn - an intentional fire - burned 112 acres, 100 or so in Benton County, the balance in Lane.

Motorists on Interstate 5 could see the plume from Albany.

Authorities in Junction City said emergency phone lines buzzed with reports from the public.

Soward said fire bosses OK'd the burn for Tuesday because the wind would carry the smoke away from Eugene.

Smoke from wildfires and field burning can shroud the southern Willamette Valley in dirty air, although state law now restricts most field burning.