BEND, Ore. - As fall weather continues to bring moisture and cooler temperatures across Central Oregon, Deschutes National Forest fuels specialists intend to begin burning on Pine Mountain, adjacent to the Pine Mountain Observatory as early as Friday.
As conditions allow, specialists expect to work intermittently over the next several months as they burn piles across approximately 2,400 acres.
In addition to Pine Mountain, fuels specialists continue to burn piles in several locations across Central Oregon including within and around the La Pine basin, west of Sunriver, adjacent to Eagle Crest resort, and north of Newberry Crater.
No road closures are anticipated with this project. However, smoke could be visible from Bend and along Highway 20 between Bend and Burns. Piles can be expected to smolder and burn for several days after ignition. If smoke drifts on to local roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Once ignited, piles are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
While smoke may linger in the area, there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation. These projects are designed to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during summer wildfires.
The piles are concentrations of leftover hazardous fuels associated with previous vegetation management activities intended to improve the health of the Ponderosa pine forest and its ability to withstand and recover from events such as fire, insects and disease. Burning piles is one step in the process towards widespread application of prescribed fire in the area.
Piles were constructed using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs controlled burns, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health. For more information, visit the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire/