BEND, Ore. - Beginning next week, fuels specialists across the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests hope to conduct numerous prescribed burns across Central Oregon.
Prescribed burns are planned for the Bend, Crescent and Sisters areas starting Monday. All prescribed burn units are scheduled to take advantage of spring weather and forest burning conditions.
On Monday and Tuesday, May 1 and 2, 450 acres are slated for ignition in the South Bend area near the subdivisions of Woodside and Sundance. Smoke may be visible along China Hat Road. No road or trail closures are expected.
Ignitions are planned around the Crescent Ranger District starting Monday and continuing throughout the week. Fuels specialists plan to burn three units totaling 373 acres located six miles south of the town of Crescent, east of Forest Road 9768. These units may produce smoke that will be visible along Hwy 97 from the junction of Hwy 97 and Hwy 58 north to Crescent.
On Monday, May 1 the Sisters Ranger District plans to ignite 156 acres in an area 3 miles west of Sisters, adjacent to the Tollgate community and roughly a mile north of the Crossroads community. No road or trail closures are expected for this burn. Signs will be posted along Hwy 242.
Ochoco National Forest
The Ochoco National Forest will be conducting two prescribed burns in the Maury Mountains area. Tuesday fuels specialists are hoping to light 143 acres of piles north of Antelope Reservoir. If conditions remain favorable, they plan to ignite the Colby unit, a 180 acre understory burn in the west Maury Mountains. No trail or road closures are anticipated for either burn.
The use of prescribed fire in Central Oregon’s fire adapted ecosystems restores forests to healthier conditions, reduces and removes dense vegetation that contributes to high intensity wildfires and protects communities.
Prescribed burning will be completed by fire staff from the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Prineville BLM, as well as students from the annual Central Oregon Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) program, an interagency collaboration to expand education surrounding prescribed fire.
Ignitions are generally planned to occur in the late morning to early afternoon timeframe. Communities located near the listed burn areas can expect to see residual smoke impacts following the ignitions of these units. Fire crews will continue to patrol and monitor all burns for several days after the initial ignitions.
For all prescribed burns, fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempt 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 interactive Deschutes National Forest website at https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/ and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.