With spring-like conditions forecast for most of next week, fuels specialists are planning to implement several prescribed fires south of Bend and near Sunriver.
Beginning as early as Monday, fuels specialists plan to burn 600 acres near the junction of Forest Road 18 (China Hat Road) and Forest Road 1820, about eight miles south of Bend.
If favorable conditions persist, specialists will then implement three additional smaller prescribed fires across 110 acres in the Sunriver area. These projects are located: 1) adjacent to Forest Road 40 (South Century Drive) on the east side of Sunriver; 2) one-half mile south of the High Desert Museum; and 3) four miles east of Sunriver.
All of these prescribed fires aim to reduce hazardous fuels within the wildland urban interface and return low intensity fire to the landscape. The three smaller prescribed fires in the Sunriver area are part of an ongoing Oregon State University research project that evaluates short- and long-term effects of vegetation treatments on forest development.
Due to the location of these projects, smoke may be visible from Sunriver and much of the greater Bend area. Drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby roads. If smoke drifts onto roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Signs will be placed along major roadways and flagging crews will be used as needed to warn motorist of conditions.
Residences and businesses on the east side of Sunriver are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts.
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.
For more information, please visit the “Prescribed Fires” link on the Deschutes & Ochoco National Forests website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/centraloregon and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.