As weather brings more moisture, shorter days, and cooler temperatures, fuels specialists continue to burn piles across Central Oregon, including ones planned next week on Pine Mountain and in the Juniper Canyon area, Forest Service officials said Saturday.
As early as Monday and continuing until completion, which could be several weeks or more depending on conditions, specialists will begin two higher-visibility pile burning operations: 1) on Pine Mountain, 20 miles southeast of Bend, near the Pine Mountain Observatory and 2) in the Juniper Canyon area, 10 miles south of Prineville, adjacent to the southern and eastern sides of the Prineville Lake Acres subdivision.
Smoke from the Pine Mountain operations will likely be visible from Highway 20 near Millican and potentially the southeast side of Bend.
Smoke from the Juniper Canyon area operations will likely be visible from Prineville, as well as the Prineville Lake Acres subdivisions and adjacent access roads.
Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition.
While smoke may linger in the area, officials say there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation.
The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with previous vegetation management activities intended to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during summer wildfires.
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 Ochoco/Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.