PLSO The Oregon Surveyor November December 2020

Member Spotlight 15 Professional Land Surveyors of Oregon | SPOTLIGHT Member By Vanessa Salvia Bill Ham I magine walking through a burned for- est. It’s quiet except for the crunch of your boots on the brittle branches and piles of ash blanketing the burned forest floor below your feet. The wind picks up and ash begins to blow around. You’re wearing a hard hat, but you hear a tree branch break off and fall in the distance. Although you have work to do, it’s time to leave. Bill Ham, Professional Land Surveyor li- censed in Oregon and Idaho, a member of PLSO, certified water rights examiner, and Eastside Boundary Manager for the U.S. Forest Service, has been fighting fire since 1973. After a fire, land often chang - es significantly in ways that can affect the land’s use or perimeters. “Identifying the boundaries that a fire burns over is critical,” Ham says. “The money that is spent to fight the fire and especially the type of treatment during and after a fire varies depending on the ownership or designation of the prop- erty. For instance, a dozer punching in a fire line is not allowed in a wilderness area or on some private properties, such as those lands owned by certain founda- tions. The money spent to rehabilitate after a fire is also based on the land own - ership. Having a land surveyor identify the boundaries and, in some cases even mark them, is much more accurate than someone following a GIS line on a recre- ation grade GPS.” One position Ham earned is that of a Field Observer. Found Bearing Tree (BT). continues on page 16 T CONFERENCE SPEAKER