Protecting the beautiful rivers, wild lands and legendary botanical diversity of Oregon's Kalmiopsis Country

Labrador Fire: A sensible fire fighting plan

The Labrador Fire is burning across from Oak Flat on the Wild and Scenic Illinois River. Oak Flat is a small group of private inholdings surrounded by the Siskiyou National Forest portion of the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. During the 2002 Biscuit Fire, Oak Flat was where some of the few structures destroyed by the Biscuit Fire were. However, many were saved there too by a man who had a sensible fire fighting plan. Is that plan still relevant?

Oak Flat is where Gayle and Jerry Sorensen stayed to protect their home and property and the homes of nearby neighbors. They’re mostly why many of the buildings surveyed. To be clear this is not advocating for what they did. Every circumstance is different. They made their own decision, based on many years of experience.

Gayle and Jerry are practical, quiet people. They’ve had to be.  They’re still at Oak Flat, care taking for the new owner of their homestead. I remember being fascinated with their story as published in Forest Magazine. I went to look it up to share it with everyone.

However, I’d totally forgotten an important aspect of the story. Jerry’s “sensible fire fighting plan.”   The article and the plan is Forest Voice’s  Fall 2003 “Collateral Damage” issue.  It seems like a good time to re-read it, as Jerry and his neighbors are struggling to protect their homes and property from the Labrador Fire.

Jerry may or may not still believe in his sensible fire fighting plan but it should be part of the discussion. Perhaps the managers of the Labrador Fire will read it and talk to Jerry to draw on his many years of experience living at the edge of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. Read  the article and Jerry’s “sensible fire fighting plan. What do you think? Is it a sensible plan>

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