purple camas cover the prairie at Dorris Ranch in spring

Wildflowers Flourish at Dorris Ranch

Benefits of Ecological Burning

The ecological burn results are in! Burned last fall with help from the Rivers to Ridges Partnership, the prairie at Dorris Ranch is showing spectacular shades of green, purple, pink, and yellow.

Controlled burns provide extensive benefits to wildlife, native plant communities, land resiliency, and protection against uncontrolled wildfires. Among those benefits, one of the most visible impacts is the return of culturally significant wildflowers. For thousands of years, the native Kalapuyan People have used fire as a tool to protect and cultivate the land. As a result, certain species in the Willamette Valley have evolved to depend on fire as a routine disturbance. The Kalapuyan People continue to make important contributions to the environment today.

Prior to the controlled burn last fall, the prairie was full of non-native grasses, thistle, meadow knapweed, and woody plants like rose, hawthorne, and blackberry. This burn not only removed these less-beneficial plant species and grass thatch, but it also returned nutrients to the soil and created space for native wildflowers like camas, checker mallow, yarrow, and western buttercup to thrive.

This bold display of ecological burning's benefits is one you'll want to see for yourself. Head over to Dorris Ranch to see this lush prairie bursting with wildflowers!

The burned prairie can be viewed by traveling along the Middle Fork Path, beginning at the trailhead at Dorris Ranch. The burned unit is located on the east side of the path. Please stay on designated paths and leave the flowers for others to enjoy.