NEAR SISTERS, Ore. — Crews are getting a handle on the Geneva 12 wildfire that’s threatening a central Oregon subdivision.The fire is 30 percent contained tonight. It started Sunday and burned about 1,300 so far. Crews say the fire is mostly just smoldering and isn’t spreading to the nearby Three Rivers subdivision.
Yet even as U.S. Forest Service crews work on Geneva 12, they’ve announced a change in dealing with smaller fires. Spokesman Joe Walsh said that to conserve fire management resources the forest service will evaluate small forest fires early to prevent them from eventually threatening nearby communities.
“What it is is nationwide forest service direction, which addresses the high level of wildfire activity that we’re all witnessing, in order to conserve fire management resources so that we’re ready to respond to other national priorities,” said Walsh.
The forest service’s longstanding policy has been to manage natural fires, but to let them burn safely if they don’t threaten homes or buildings. Scientists say the fires are part of the forest’s life cycle.