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70-acre prescribed burn completed west of Bend


As expected, a 70-acre prescribed burn was conducted west of Bend Thursday, and as also expected, it prompted concern among many who did not catch the advisory of the project issued earlier in the week.

Some specific wind and weather conditions forecast for Thursday prompted fuel specialists to schedule the burn in the West Bend Project area near Phil’s Trailhead off of Skyliners Road west of Bend, officials said.

About one mile of the KGB trail between Forest Road 4604 and the Marvin’s Garden Trail was closed Wednesday and Thursday to prepare for and complete the burn, officials said.

Burning was conducted about a mile south of the trailhead parking area.

Officials said the ignitions began around 10 a.m. and were finished about 1 p.m., with the smoke expected to dissipate through the afternoon. They said the closed KGB mountain bike trail should reopen Friday.

NewsChannel 21’s Katie Higgins was out covering the burn and will have reports on NewsChannel Fox @ 4, and at 5 and 6 on NBC.

The winds forecast for the burn area were expected to push smoke up and over Bend, and indeed, there were few direct impacts to the community. But officials also had warned that the smoke would be highly visible from Bend and the surrounding areas.

Hazards, including fire weakened trees and areas of hot ash, will exist in the burn area for 1-2 weeks or more after burn implementation, officials said.

Fire managers advised that recreationists should remain on the trails and roads, and that dogs remain on leash when traveling around the burn area. If smoke drifts onto roads, motorists are advised to slow down, turn on headlights and proceed with care.

The smoke will dissipate after ignitions have been completed, but smoke could be visible in the burn area for an additional 2-3 days. Fuels specialists will be monitoring the burn area through the weekend and into next week.

Fuels specialists followed policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs controlled burns, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.

The West Bend Vegetation Project is the first to be implemented through a partnership with the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, an organization bringing a diverse group of stakeholders together with the Forest Service to design and plan treatments options for highly valued and historically controversial areas.

DCFP was created through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program in 2010, which awarded the Deschutes National Forest with a 10-year, $10.1 million grant to restore 145,000 acres of forest in Central Oregon.

In the summer of 2013, the restoration area was approved for an expansion, bringing the total to approximately 257,000 acres and stretching from Black Butte and Bend to Sunriver and Mt. Bachelor.

For more information, visit and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.

Deschutes National Forest fuel specialists on the Sisters Ranger District also conducted a prescribed burn Wednesday on land beside Black Butte Ranch.

The 90-acre area being treated is adjacent to Black Butte Ranch and mile south of Highway 20 in the Glaze Meadow area.

That prescribed fire 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.

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.

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