Given favorable weather conditions, Deschutes National Forest fuel specialists on the Sisters Ranger District plan to conduct two prescribed fires beginning as early as Wednesday and continuing through the week.
Up to 275 acres could be burned adjacent to Black Butte Ranch and ¼ mile south of Highway 20 in the Glaze Meadow area. Up to 160 acres could be burned two miles north of Camp Sherman along the north side of Forest Road 1425 in the Metolius Basin.
Both of these prescribed fires share similar objectives which include modifying fuel arrangements in historically fire-adapted ecosystems, improving wildlife habitat, and minimizing the potential of future high intensity wildfires.
The prescribed fire adjacent to Black Butte Ranch is part of the Glaze Meadow Restoration Project, a project which was accomplished through close collaboration between the Forest Service, public, and representatives from both the environmental and timber communities. Black Butte Ranch could be impacted by smoke as a result of this project.
The prescribed fire north of Camp Sherman in the Metolius Basin could impact “House on the Metolius” as well as other inholdings north of Camp Sherman with smoke.
Due to the location of these units, the public could see smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby highways and Forest roads. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby Forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated with these projects.
Meanwhile, fuels specialists intend to begin burning up to 500 acres 20 miles east of Paulina near Spur Butte on the Ochoco National Forest as early as Wednesday. Once initiated, ignitions are expected to last four to five days.
Project objectives include reintroducing fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem, as well as improving wildlife habitat and reducing hazardous fuels. This project is supported by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Blue Mountains Elk Initiative, and National Wild Turkey Federation.
No road closures are anticipated with this project; however, smoke from this operation could be visible from Highways 26 and 380. Additionally, Forest Roads 58 and 5870 could be impacted by smoke. If smoke drifts onto local 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. Once ignited, units are monitored and patrolled until they are declared out.
For more information, visit the Ochoco/Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.