Fall/winter prescribed burn plans outlined

Fire season not quite over, but projects due soon

By KTVZ.COM news sources
POSTED: 12:19 PM PDT October 10, 2012 
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BEND, Ore. -

Though current weather conditions are causing an extended fire season and public use restrictions, as Central Oregon sees more moisture, shorter days and cooler temperatures, Forest Service and BLM fuels specialists will begin fall and winter prescribed burning, officials said Wednesday. 

Prescribed fires, in conjunction with thinning and mowing, can reduce hazardous fuels. Prescribed fire also is used by fire managers and ecologists to improve forest and rangeland health and protect the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat. 

Fall and winter prescribed fire programs may include the burning of previous gathered concentrations of vegetation, known as pile burning, as well as broadcast burning, underburning, and "jackpot burning," which are more widespread applications of fire across a designated area. 

Prescribed fires are ignited when predicted weather patterns and fuel conditions will minimize smoke impacts to air quality and public health and are completed in compliance with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan. 

 Specifically, the following prescribed burns are potentially planned for this fall & winter, given appropriate weather conditions:

Sisters Ranger District:

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the impacts of wildfire to Sisters area residents and improve forest health, fuels specialists on the Sisters Ranger District have approximately 400 acres of underburning and 500 acres of pile burning potentially planned for this fall & winter.  These burns include the following:

 Bend – Fort Rock Ranger District:

Fuels specialists with the Bend – Fort Rock Ranger District have portions of several project areas lined up for their fall & winter prescribed burning program.  A wildlife habitat restoration project, Cow Meadow, could begin as early as this week.  Other projects may be implemented as conditions allow.  The projects include the following:

 Crescent Ranger District:

As weather and moisture allow, specialists hope to begin prescribed burning as early as mid-October.  These burns include:

Prineville District BLM:

Specialists with the Prineville District BLM have several project areas lined up for this fall/winter and anticipate prescribed burning within the Ag units towards the end of October.  Pile and Jackpot burning will not begin until December or later, depending on conditions.  Projects include the following:

Ochoco National Forest & Crooked River National Grassland:

Fall vegetation conditions more closely mimic natural burning conditions and are therefore an ideal time for prescribed fire on the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland.  Specialists hope to begin working on the following projects mid-October or once conditions allow: 

 In all cases, the areas around the burns will be signed to inform motorists of the prescribed fire activities.

People recreating in or traveling through the area should use caution as smoke may affect visibility and travel. If motorists encounter smoke as a result of the burning, they should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.

Patrols and mop-up activities will occur during and following ignitions and night patrols will occur on an as-needed basis, depending on conditions.

Individual media releases will be sent out prior to each burn providing more information on the type of burn, the location and information on any road or area closures. All prescribed burns will be mopped up and patrolled following ignition. 

For more information, visit the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire/