BEND, Ore. - With the cooler, wetter weather, fire managers will continue pile burning on the Deschutes National Forest, beginning Saturday, officials said.
The piles are leftover accumulations of woody material associated with previous vegetation management activities near numerous subdivision and roads. Removing these dense accumulations of fuel near homes, facilities and roads will create defensible space around communities, the Forest Service said.
Beginning Saturday and continuing through next week, fire managers will ignite 1,100 acres of slash piles around La Pine (Ponderosa Way), near: Huntington/Vandevert Road, Fall River Fish Hatchery, Big River Campground and Boundary Road; in the Sunriver area near: Sunriver Airport and along Highway 97 from Sunriver to State Recreation Road; and Bend area, near: Deschutes River Woods and Lava River Cave.
Piles may smolder, burn and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Removing this accumulation of fuel is one of the final steps to creating a restored and healthy ponderosa pine ecosystem and protecting communities from additional fuel loading in forested areas adjacent to private land.
No closures are anticipated with these operations. However, if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
For more information, visit the Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow on Twitter @CentralORFire.