BEND, Ore. -

A 614-acre prescribed burn planned for Thursday south of Bend will be postponed until Monday, when weather conditions are forecast to be more favorable, officials said.

Fuels specialists intend to conduct the burn approximately ½ mile south of Arnold Ice Cave, near the intersection of China Hat Road (FS Road 18) and FS Road 1820.  Ignitions are expected to last up to three days.

The objectives of the prescribed fire are not only to reduce hazardous fuels, but also to support the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife by improving the quality of deer winter rangeland. 

Due to the location of this project, the public, especially those living in southeast Bend communities, may see a smoke column and could experience smoke impacts during the night hours.  Residents in these areas are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours, to avoid any potential smoke impacts.  

Forest roads and trails in the vicinity of the prescribed fire, including China Hat (FS Road 18) and OHV trails 20 and 24 may also be impacted by smoke.  Signs will be placed along China Hat Road, on both sides of the unit, to alert drivers to operations. 

Also on Thursday, fuels specialists began burning concentrations of previously cut juniper on up to 400 acres on the east side of the Maury Mountains and 12 miles southeast of Post, weather permitting. 

Smoke from this operation could be visible from Highways 20 and 380.

Project objectives include improving wildlife habitat and range conditions as well as hazardous fuels reduction.  This project is supported by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 

No road closures are anticipated with this project.  However, if smoke drifts on to 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 Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon and follow us on Twitter, @CentralORFire