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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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WILDFIRE

The Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society (Hugo Neighborhood) is within the Jumpoff Joe Watershed (1998. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis (REO Watershed #1710031002). U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Medford District Office (MDO), Grants Pass Resource Area (GPRA). Medford, Oregon).

Web site: http://www.or.blm.gov/Medford/planning/watershed_analyses.htm
1. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis 6/98 (700K)
2. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis maps (6 meg)
 
The Jumpoff Joe Watershed is composed of two sub-watersheds:
1. Joe Louse Watershed, and
2. Quartz Joe Watershed.
 
The Hugo Neighborhood is almost entirely within the Quartz Joe Watershed. Hugo BLM Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis maps of interest include the following.
1. BLM Ownership In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 3b
2. BLM Land Use Allocations In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 4b
3. General Geology In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 6b
4. Soil Erosion Hazard (No Protection) In The Jumpoff Joe Watershed - Map 7
5. Forest Soil Productivity In The Jumpoff Joe Watershed - Map 8
6. Stream Orders (> 2) In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 9b
7. Approximate Distribution Of Cutthroat & Steelhead Salmonids In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 10b
8. Approximate Distribution Of Coho & chinook Salmonids In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 11b
9. Dominate Vegetation In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 12b
10. Fire Hazard Rating For The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 18b
11. Fire Risk Rating For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 19b
12. Fire Value Rating For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 20b
13. Areas With High Hazard, Risk, And Value-At-Risk Rating In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 21b
14. Fuel Models For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 22b

A. Wildfire Hazard Issue

The BLM, MDO, GPRA found that the Quartz Joe Watershed had a high wildfire hazard classification, high risk classification from wildfire, and high values at risk from wildfire (1998. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis (REO Watershed #1710031002). U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Medford District Office, Grants Pass Resource Area. Medford, Oregon). There at five Hugo maps of interest for wildfire.

1. Fire Hazard Rating For The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 18b
2. Fire Risk Rating For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 19b
3. Fire Value Rating For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 20b
4. Areas With High Hazard, Risk, And Value-At-Risk Rating In The Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 21b
5. Fuel Models For Quartz Joe Watershed - Map 22b

B. Fire Management

1. Fundamental Changes to the Fire Regime

The historic fire regime for the watershed has been that of a low-severity regime. This regime is characterized by frequent fires of low intensity. The exclusion of fire occurrence (both natural and prescribed) has lead to a shift in the fire regime to an unnatural, high-severity regime where fires are infrequent, usually high intensity, and cause stand replacement. Where natural high-severity fire regimes normally occur (e.g. northern Cascades or Olympic Mountains), fire return intervals are long and usually associated with infrequent weather events such as prolonged drought or east wind, low humidity events and lightning ignition sources. Southern Oregon and the Jumpoff Joe watershed has the same weather conditions and topography that created the former low-severity fire regime. The only change in the fire environment has been the fuel conditions created since the removal of frequent fire. This has caused a vegetation shift to dense, overstocked stands of less fire resistant species, with an increase in dead and down fuels. Simultaneously, a dramatic increase in human ignition sources has occurred. This created a current condition of large, increasingly destructive, difficult to suppress wildfire with the capability to destroy many of the resource and human values present in the watershed. The Walker Mountain Fire in 1988 is an example. This fire burned over 2,100 acres and was nearly 90 percent high intensity, a stand replacement fire. Homes in the Colonial Valley area were threatened with destruction for nearly a week before suppression forces could control the spread of the fire. 1998. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. BLM, MDO, GPRA pps. 45 - 46.

2. Current Condition

The data collected for the Quartz Joe watershed for hazard, ignition risk, and values at risk for loss from wildfire are summarized in Tables 1 - 4. Wildfire information is displayed on Maps 18a - 22b. Rating classification criteria are summarized in Appendix G (Fire Management Planning - Hazard, Risk, And Value At Risk Rating Classification Method and Assumptions). Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. pps. 46, 193 - 195.

Hazard, risk and value at risk are conditions that are used to better understand and plan for potential fire management problems and identify opportunities to manage the watershed to meet goals, objectives and desired future conditions. Wildfire occurrence can often prevent the successful achievement of short-term and mid-term land management goals and objectives. Stand replacement wildfire can prevent the development of mature and late-successional forest conditions as well as convert existing mature forests to early seral forests. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. p. 46.

The Quartz Joe Watershed has increased vegetation and dead/down fuel conditions over the past that have shifted a large amount of the area into a high fire hazard condition (Table 1). Ninety-eight percent (98%) of the watershed is in a high/moderate fire hazard classification. Much of this is a result of the large acreage in less than mature vegetation classes. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. p. 48, Map 18b, Appendix G.

 

Table 1.  Wildfire Hazard Classification - Quartz Joe Watershed

Ownership

Acres

High Hazard

Acres/Percent

Moderate Hazard

Acres/Percent

Low Hazard

Acres/Percent

BLM

7,802

4,242

54%

3,387

43%

173

2%

Other Ownership

28,221

17,292

61%

10,194

36%

735

3%

Total

36,023

21,534

60%

13,581

38%

908

3%

The high level of human population within this portion of the watershed creates the high of risk for wildfire occurrence (97%). Risk is at an extreme level (Table 2). Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. p. 48, Map 19b, Appendix G.

Table 2.  Wildfire Risk Classification - Quartz Joe Watershed

Ownership

Acres

High Risk

Acres/Percent

Moderate Risk

Acres/Percent

Low Risk

Acres/Percent

BLM

7,802

7,081

91%

690

9%

31

0.4%

Other Ownership

28,221

27,803

99%

418

1%

0

0%

Total

36,023

34,884

97%

1,108

3%

31

0.1%

Seventy-two percent (72%) is a large amount of land classified as high value. This is the result of the amount of private lands, especially residential areas (Table 3). Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. p. 48, Map 20b, Appendix G.

Table 3.  Value at Risk From Wildfire - Quartz Joe Watershed

Ownership

Acres

High Value

Acres/Percent

Moderate Value

Acres/Percent

Low Value

Acres/Percent

BLM

7,802

3,528

45%

3,209

41%

1,065

14%

Other Ownership

28,221

22,493

80%

4,518

16%

1,210

4%

Total

36,023

26,021

72%

7,727

21%

2,275

6%

Almost 40 percent (40%) of the watershed rates high in all three factors: hazard, risk, values at risk (Table 4). This indicates that wildfire occurrence in this watershed will have an extremely negative effect on resources. These areas need to be considered as priority areas for management actions and activity that will decrease the potential for large stand replacement wildfire occurrence. Jumpoff Joe Watershed Analysis. p. 49, Map 21b.

Table 4.  Acres of High Rating in Hazard, Risk and Values at Risk - Quartz Joe Watershed

Ownership

Acres

High Concern Areas

Acres/Percent

BLM

7,802

1,064

14%

Other Ownership

28,221

12,809

45%

Total

36,023

13,873

39%

 

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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society