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Prescribed burns planned on Ochoco, Deschutes forests


Fuel management specialists on the Ochoco National Forest will be doing prescribed burning in the Upper Beaver units near Rager Ranger Station Tuesday and continuing through the end of the week.

Burning in the area is in addition to completing prescribed burning within an 800-acre area done in Upper Beaver units last year, about 15 miles northeast of Paulina, near Rager Ranger Station on the Paulina Ranger District.

The type of prescribed burning being done in these areas is also known as “jackpot burning,” which addresses high concentrations of thinning-related or naturally-occurring downed woody debris.

The goals for the prescribed burn are to reduce hazardous fuels to prevent future high-intensity fire, while improving critical winter range for big game and creating better connectivity of sage grouse habitat.

Light smoke will be visible from both burns during ignition periods and may linger for several days, but no other impacts to forest visitors are expected.

All prescribed burning is dependent on weather and planned in accordance with smoke management standards administered by the State of Oregon.

If you want to receive email notifications prior to prescribed burns on the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland, send a request to Assistant Fire Management Officer Sam Pearcy at

Meanwhile, also given favorable weather conditions, Deschutes National Forest fuel specialists on the Crescent Ranger District plan to conduct two prescribed burns just south of Crescent this week.

Fuels specialists plan to ignite a unit of 221 acres located approximately 6 miles southwest of Crescent on Tuesday and Wednesday at 11 a.m. An additional unit of 155 acres, similarly located, will be ignited on Wednesday at 11 a.m. The prescribed burn units are located east of Forest Road 9768.

Burning in both of these units is designed to introduce fire into a fire-adapted ponderosa pine ecosystem and to remove fuels from a thinning project to reduce the possibility of high-intensity crown fires in the area. In addition, the prescribed fire is expected to help support old-growth juniper woodlands and enhance riparian vegetation. Both projects are being done as a part of the Greater La Pine Basin Cohesive Strategy Project through special funding from the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Initiative.

Due to the location of these units, the public could see smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby highways and Forest roads. While there are no road closures anticipated with this burn, smoke will be visible at the junction of State Highways 97 and 58. State Highway 97 will be monitored for any impacts and warning signs will be in place where driving precautions might be necessary. If smoke drifts onto roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with caution.

Residences and businesses near these burn areas are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to minimize any potential smoke impacts.

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:

For more information, follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.

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