If weather conditions remain favorable, the Deschutes National Forest has several prescribed burns planned for the weekend.
Beginning on Saturday, burning will take place in the Metolius Basin outside Sisters and south of Bend, one mile west of Horse Butte.
On Sunday, fuels specialists will be igniting a 130-acre burn west of Bend near the new Cascade Lakes Welcome Station on Cascade Lakes Highway and a small burn outside of Sisters.
The first burn of the weekend will take place on Saturday, south of Bend. This 240-acre burn unit is near a prescribed fire that was completed on Thursday.
Both burns are intended to treat hazardous fuels around the community and lessen the impacts of large scale wildfire events.
Also planned on Saturday is a 212-acre burn outside of Sisters, two miles west of Camp Sherman. This burn is designed to decrease hazardous fuels accumulations within the Wildland Urban Interface adjacent to Camp Sherman and surrounding communities by reintroducing fire back into the Ponderosa pine ecosystem.
Burning in the West Bend Project area will likely begin late Sunday morning. About 1 1/2 miles of the COD trail from junction 20 to 21 will be closed during burning operations and will open again when forest officials feel the area is safe.
If there are periods of heavy smoke, flaggers will be in place on Cascade Lakes Highway to safely guide traffic to the other side of the fire area.
The winds forecast for the burn area are expected to push smoke up and over Bend, which will limit impacts to the community. However, smoke will be highly visible from Bend and the surrounding areas.
The final burn of the weekend will be ignited Sunday, mid-morning if conditions remain favorable, about six miles west of Sisters near Highway 242. As with other burns near communities, the purpose of this burn is to decrease hazardous fuel accumulations and reintroduce fire back into the Ponderosa pine ecosystem.
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning), and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
Keep up with prescribed burns in Central Oregon by visiting this live map: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/
For more information, visit the Deschutes website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/west-bend/ and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.
Background on the West Bend Project
The West Bend Vegetation Project is the first project to be implemented through a partnership with the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project (DCFP), 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 (CFLR) 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. The Forest Service encourages visitors to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO by bookmarking our interactive map: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/west-bend/