BEND, Ore. -

Given favorable conditions, Deschutes National Forest fuels specialists on the Bend-Fort Rock and Sisters Ranger District plan to conduct prescribed burns in five separate areas next week.

On the Sisters Ranger District, a 135-acre burn, called McCache North, is planned for an area two miles south of Black Butte Ranch and one mile north of Highway 242. 

Another 178-acre burn, called SAFR NW, is planned ½ mile south of Black Butte Ranch and Graham Corral campground and 1½ miles southwest of Highway 20. 

The communities of Tollgate and Crossroads, as well as Black Butte Ranch could be impacted by smoke as a result these projects.

The goal of these projects is to reduce the level of fuels in forested areas, which will minimize the potential of future high intensity wildfires and improve public safety by creating defensible space. 

On the Bend Fort Rock Ranger District, fuels specialists plan to burn in three separate areas which together comprise the “Oz Research Units.”

Oz Unit 1, a 12-acre burn, is planned for an area ½ mile southeast of the High Desert Museum.

Oz Unit 6, a 40-acre burn, is located four miles east of Sunriver and Highway 97 near Abbott Butte. 

Oz Unit 8, a 61-acre burn, is located ½ mile east of Sunriver on the west side of Highway 97, north of Forest Service Road 40, and east of Forest Service Road 4001.

The communities of Sunriver and Deschutes River Woods, as well as the High Desert Museum and those residing on the south side of Bend, could be impacted by smoke as a result of this project. 

The Oz Research Units are part of an Oregon State University study that evaluates short- and long-term effects of vegetation treatments on forest development. 

Due to the location of these projects, the public will see visible plumes of smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby roads.  If smoke drifts onto roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.

Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health. For more information, please visit the “Prescribed Fires” link on the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center website, http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/fire/