Cooler temperatures and shorter days have created an opportunity for fuels specialists on the Deschutes National Forest to begin prescribed burning season. If conditions remain favorable, fuels specialists will begin burning as early as next week, officials said Friday.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, fuels specialists on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District are planning three prescribed burns south of Bend. A 175-acre unit called “Pit 18” is on the west side of Wake Butte is slated for ignitions, while “Pit 12” and “Myst 12” at 75 acres and 58 acres respectively are between Fall River Campgrounds and Fall River Estates along Forest Road 42 are also planned. For more precise locations, visit the prescribed burn live map below.
In addition to these units, there are numerous prescribed burns planned in the forest. On the Bend Fort-Rock Ranger District, about 30 burns are planned, including three units in West Bend, five near Sunriver and four near La Pine State Park.
There are six units around Sisters slated for treatment including one near the Tollgate subdivision and one adjacent to Highway 20. Additionally, the Crescent Ranger District has seven prescribed burns planned including three around Davis Lake, three near Walker Mountain and one unit near Hamner Butte.
Any decision to move forward with prescribed burn plans will depend on appropriate weather conditions and fuel moisture, as well as adequate staffing and public notifications, officials said.
All prescribed burns have been scheduled to take advantage of the cooler and more humid fall season, which moderates fire behavior to allow fuels specialists to remove hazardous fuels, reducing the potential for high-intensity uncharacteristic fire, while restoring low-intensity fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and improving range and forest health.
Fuels specialists 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 www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.