EUGENE, Ore. - Instead of putting out fires, firefighters were starting them on Mount Pisgah last Friday -literally fighting fire with fire.
"Sometimes you have to take a look at the bigger picture," said Greg Wagenblast, a forester with the Eastern Lane Fire Department, "and figure out, is there a place you can light off the road and let the fire back down into the fire that is coming down the hill at you."
If you burn up all the fuel, the dry grass, bushes and other dead vegitation the fire won't have anywhere to go and will eventually die out. The burn at the Howard Buford Recreation Area is actually a two-fer, providing training for five fire departments as well as helping the environment.
"The purpose is to use fire to maintain that prairie, savanna habitat," said Jason Blazar, Stewardship Coordinator for Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah. "In the absence of fire, trees and plants spring up and it starts to become a different type of plant community."
A community of invasive blackberries may make for good eats, but the invasive plant crowds out other vegetation.
"They can colonize and overwhelm a site, limiting the diversity of plants that thrive here," Blazar said, "and our goal is to increase the diversity of plant life."
The goal was to burn 55 acres of land that will soon be ready for new native vegitation, as well as provide some priceless experience for new recruits.
"You can do it with computers you can do it with videos but actually seeing it on the ground is a huge benefit for any firefigher," said Wagenblast.