Prescribed Fire Set to Restore Wildlife Habitat for Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Release Date: 

Contact(s): Elizabeth Munding

Waldport, OR—Feb. 24, 2022— Firefighters of Siuslaw National Forest are preparing to conduct a 20-acre prescribed fire starting this week near Tahkenitch Beach on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, to improve habitat for the threatened western snowy plover.

This weather-dependent burn, expected to begin tomorrow and continue multiple days through mid-March, is one mile southwest of the Oregon Dunes Overlook Day Use Area on the Central Coast Ranger District. Trained firefighting personnel will ignite vegetation while fire danger is low and monitor the burn to ensure fire does not spread outside the immediate vicinity. Recreation sites in the area will remain open; negligible smoke is expected.

Supporting long-term Oregon Dunes restoration, the prescribed fire is set to remove dense stands of non-native invasive beachgrass, thereby, improving habitat for native dune plants and animals.

To thrive, plovers need large areas of open sand to breed, nest, and raise their young. “Over the past several years, nesting success in this area has significantly declined,” said Cindy Burns, a wildlife biologist on the Central Coast Ranger District. “The goal is to immediately improve nesting habitat and improve the chance for a successful nesting season.”

The area to be burned contains non-native European beachgrass; this invasive vegetation hinders adult plovers from predator avoidance and prevents young chicks from reaching preferred foraging sites on the ocean beach. 

For additional information, contact Siuslaw Fire Management Officer Nathan Shinkle at or (435) 671-9374.