BEND, Ore. -

As favorable weather conditions return to Central Oregon, fuels specialists with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are preparing for the spring prescribed fire program. 

Prescribed fires, often completed in conjunction with thinning and mowing, reduce hazardous fuels which may decrease future wildfire intensity and allow for more effective containment.

Prescribed fire is also one tool used by fire managers and ecologists to improve forest and rangeland health and protect the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat.

Prescribed fires are ignited when precise weather conditions allow for a variety of fire intensities to meet fuels reduction and natural resource objectives. 

Fuels specialists may spend years planning a prescribed fire and work very closely with wildlife biologists, foresters, hydrologists, and other resource managers, as well as adjacent landowners, to ensure the prescribed fire meets resource needs.

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

If weather conditions allow, specialists with the Prineville BLM will begin working on the Playa prescribed fire 10 miles south of Brothers and continue working on the Millican prescribed fire southwest of Prineville on Thursday.

Specifically, the following prescribed fires are being considered for implementation this spring:

Prineville Bureau of Land Management 

  • Clarno Agricultural Fields- 50 acres, 1½ miles north of Clarno
  • Bridge Creek Agricultural Fields - 50 acres, 2 miles northwest of Mitchell
  • Millican Road – 400 acres, 15 miles southwest of Prineville ****Ignitions began March 12****
  • Playa Habitat Improvement – 2,200 acres, 10 miles south of Brothers ****Ignitions tentatively planned for March 13****

Ochoco National Forest

  • Pine Ridge Stewardship Unit 2 – 50 acres on the Crooked River National Grassland near Bennett Springs
  • East Maury Units – 500 acres split between several units on the east/southeast side of the Maury Mountains
  • Willow Pine Units – 500 acres split between several units near Spur Butte

 Sisters Ranger District: 

  • Sisters Area Fuels Reduction NW – as many as 300 acres between Highway 242 and Forest Road 300 near Cold Spring Campground
  • McCache North – as many as 270 acres off of Forest Road 1014 near Graham Butte
  • 1425 RX – as many as 400 acres off of Forest Road 1425 in the Metolius Basin
  • Metolius Basin 1720 – as many as 300 acres off of Forest Road 100, southwest of Camp Sherman
  • Glaze Forest Restoration – as many as 275 acres in the Glaze Forest Stewardship area, between Forest Roads 330 and 300, adjacent to Glaze Meadow
  • Metolius RNA  - 96 acres in the Metolius Research Natural Area off of Forest Road 14, ½ mile northeast of Gorge Campground.
    • Metolius WUI - as many as 200 acres off of Forest Road 1217 in vicinity of Allingham Guard Station

 Bend – Fort Rock Ranger District:

  • South Bend – 110 acres ½ mile west of Horse Butte on the southeast side of Bend.  This project could begin early April and will be highly visible within and around Bend.
  • Bind and Nut – as many as 891 acres split between several units 10 miles northwest of La Pine within and adjacent to the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest
  • Fuzzy– as many as 1207 acres split between several units southeast of Coyote Butte along Forest Road 1820
  • West Tumbull – 159 acres west of Bend near Skyliners Road
  • West Bend – 234 acres west of Bend near Phil’s Trailhead
  • Oz 1 – 12 acres ½ mile south of the High Desert Museum
  • Oz 6 – 40 acres 1 mile northwest of Sugar Pine Butte along Forest Road 9720
  • Oz 8 – 61 acres adjacent to Sunriver along County Highway 40
  • Dice 44 – 199 acres east of Highway 97 and 8 miles north of La Pine

Crescent Ranger District:

  • Pete - 147 acres 2 miles west of Crescent
  • RP Units - 549 acres split across several units, 1 mile south of the Two Rivers North subdivision and proximate to the junction of Highways 58 and 97
  • Bass Units – 643 acres split across several units north of Davis Lake
  • Baldy Units – 120 acres adjacent to Lava Flow Campground on Davis Lake

In all cases, the areas around the prescribed fires will be signed to inform motorists of conditions.  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.

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. 

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