Sunday, September 24, 2017

Need Workers for Innovative Biochar Forestry Project Starting Oct 16.

As of today (September 24) the Drew Biochar Project on the Umpqua National Forest is scheduled to start on Monday, October 16. Recent rain has made conditions safe for controlled burning. The only thing that could get in the way is if we get very heavy rain. Light rain will not stop us. If it looks like we will get rained out, we will post a rain date at

We need your help. If you are free the week of October 16, and can travel to the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon, please come and join us. You will learn how we use several types of biochar kilns and top lit open burn piles. We have about 100 tons of biomass to process and expect to make somewhere between 50 and 75 cubic yards of biochar. We plan to spend at least three days at the site, doing the work. Anyone who helps will be compensated with biochar to take home.

Many of us will camp on the site. If you can join us, you will need to provide all your own personal equipment, food and water. The nearest hotel is about 50 minutes away in Canyonville. There is a FS campground nearby, but there are no showers there. See Three Horn Campground: 

The site is about 12 minutes from Hwy 227, which is the road that follows the South Umpqua River from Canyonville to Trail, OR in the Rogue Valley. The gravel road to the site is in good condition. There is no cell phone service at the site or on most of Hwy 227.

If you are interested in helping out, we would really appreciate it if you could register so we have your contact info:

Feel free to call Kelpie Wilson with your questions. You can reach her at 541-218-9890. Or email:

NOTE: You will be required to sign a form releasing us from liability before we accept you as a volunteer.


There are two ways to stay informed about the schedule as our plans finalize:

1. Visit our website at
2. Sign up for the UBET mailing list here:!forum/ubetbiochar


Here is some more information about the project: 

Logistics – materials and supplies needed

The US Forest Service will provide:
  • Drip torches for lighting piles
  • Water truck and hoses for quenching piles and kilns
UBET volunteers will provide:
  • Kilns
  • Propane torches for lighting
  • Supplies and tools
  • Tractors for loading char into dumptrucks and bags
  • Bags
Volunteers must bring their own:
  • Heavy leather work gloves
  • Good sturdy boots
  • Hardhat with face shield if you have it
  • Fire resistant clothing such as cotton or wool
  • Food, drinking water, personal needs
  • Camping gear if staying overnite
Items we need more of. Bring if you have them:
  • Hard hats
  • Shovels, rakes, McClouds and other fire tools
  • 2-way radios
  • Sheets of metal roofing to place around piles for holding in heat
  • Bags for holding char (especially large 1-2 cubic yard tote bags)
  • Dump trucks for transporting char

Maps and Directions 

Drew Veg Biochar Site GPS Coordinates: 42.866271, -122.863688

 Project Background

Can we turn our forestry burn piles into biochar?
Can we add carbon to soils, where it belongs as we remove it from the atmosphere?
Can we make this restoration activity pay for itself?

These are the questions the Umpqua Biochar Education Team will answer with the Drew Veg Biochar Project. We hope that you will help us find the answers by volunteering to help.

Drew Veg Biochar is the name of a fuel reduction project on the Umpqua National Forest, near the town of Drew, Oregon. The US Forest Service conducts many such projects on National Forests every year for the purpose of reducing fire hazard by removing dense stands of younger trees, mostly in plantations and areas that were previously logged.

Some of the wood may be big enough to sell to sawmills, but much of it must be piled and burned onsite. This burning produces large amounts of smoke, and the numerous piles burn holes in the forest duff, sterilizing the soil.

We have a better idea and we want to prove it.

Please Come and Join our Drew Fest on October 16, 2017!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Covering the piles at Drew Veg Biochar

We caught these piles just before the rain on Sunday! We are all set for the big October Char Fest. Hope you can come and join us. Right now we are on track for starting the biochar burns on Monday, October 16. We will be on the site at least three days.

Watch this space for more info or subscribe to the UBET mailing list:!forum/ubetbiochar

 If you are pretty sure you want to come and help, we would appreciate it if you could register so we know have your contact info: 

Here's a video of our pile of piles: