Mountain Park Homeowners Association and Oswego Lake Watershed Council are awardees of ODF’s 2022 Small Forestland Grant funding. They received a grant for a collaborative urban forestry project designed to reduce the risk of wildfire in the neighborhood of Mountain Park in Lake Oswego.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE PROGRAM?
The primary goals of this project include reduction of hazardous fuels on common property, invasive species removal, promotion of healthy native plant communities, and supporting the formation of a Firewise community managed by residents of Mountain Park.
WHY DID MOUNTAIN PARK RECEIVE THE GRANT?
When understory vegetation accumulates and ladder fuels build up, they allow fires to burn, ignite and spread faster, leading to high intensity, high impact fires. When fire encounters areas of continuous brush or small trees, especially non native vegetation, it can burn these “ladder fuels” and may quickly move from a ground fire into the treetops, creating crown fires. Steep slopes, dense non-native vegetation, and the interface between wildland and urban areas present high risk for wildfires. The forested area is mainly confined to steep slopes that are topped by the residential areas, increasing the likelihood that a wildfire could develop with catastrophic results to residences – a single cigarette or coal from a barbecue has the potential to start a catastrophic wildfire in these conditions. This forested property also contains invasive plants (including ivy, European clematis, blackberry and invasive tree species) that threaten the resilience of the forest and health of native trees, shrubs, and wildlife within the system.
WHAT WILL THE COMMON PROPERTY LOOK LIKE?
The removal of the hazardous fuel load resting on common property will provide a more fire resistant landscape that promotes healthy forest successional processes, ultimately preserving many mature, native trees from going up in flames in the event of an urban wildland fire. The changes you see will include the removal of ground fuels and ladder fuels including ivy, debris, and invasive plants including non-native trees. In some areas, this will have a distinct impact on the look of the forest, and in other areas not much difference will be visible. Please know that this is a long-term project and changes will come slowly until the end result of a resilient and re-planted urban forest is achieved.