The danger from wildfires peaks this weekend as the National Weather Service issues a Red Flag Warning for Rogue Farms of Tygh Valley, Oregon.
From now until Saturday evening, we’re facing extreme heat, low humidity and strong winds. Should a fire break out it could easily burn up our fields of malting barley in just a matter of hours.
The threat is so serious that, for the first time in Rogue Farms history, we’re taking extraordinary steps to defend our barley crop.
For starters, we jerry-rigged our own version of a fire truck. We grabbed a spare a 500 gallon tank, a pump, a hose and installed everything into the back of a large truck. If any flames pop up, this is our first line of defense. It’s not pretty, but we’re glad we have it. As farmers we’ve learned to how to do things ourselves. We also attached a disc plow to our tractor so we can plow fire breaks to contain blazes before they spread.
This is the busiest time of year for us. We’re about halfway through the harvest of our 100 acres of Risk™ malting barley. Combines are in the field, big rigs are hauling away the harvested kernels. A spark from one of these vehicles is the most likely cause for a fire this weekend.
But putting off the harvest is not an option. We have to bring in the crop when Mother Nature says its ready. Plus, our fields of Dare™ malting barley will be ready to reap, thresh and winnow in just a couple of weeks.
Wildfires are always a threat this time of year. Although there are currently no wildfires near the farm, the 2013 Government Flats Complex fire came close two summers ago, and we still remember seeing glowing skies at night from the Madras wildfire of 2011.
Farming comes with risks. We’ve experienced many challenges from Mother Nature – from slugs, to frosts, to floods. But this season’s threat from wildfires is especially worrisome. With cool temperatures still days away, we’re crossing our fingers and hoping for the best.
A reminder to anyone visiting the area, all of Oregon is under Severe Drought, and outdoor fires are banned in most areas. If you see a fire, please call 911 immediately.
We’ll update this page with new information as it becomes available.