Fire and fuels specialists will begin burning slash piles across the Deschutes National Forest this week as fall weather brings more moisture, shorter days and cooler temperatures.
Beginning this week and continuing through the next few months, fuel management specialists will burn a variety of pile units on the Sisters, Bend-Ft. Rock and Crescent ranger districts. Smoke from these pile burns may be visible at a distance.
Pile burning differs from other forms of prescribed burn because it involves igniting piles of vegetation, created during thinning or other types of fuel reduction work after the vegetation has had an opportunity to dry out.
The dried vegetation in the piles burns hot and clean and does not produce the amount of smoke that understory burns (prescribed fires) produce.
Understory burns are also ignited by hand, but the goal is to burn greener vegetation across a broad area. Both pile and understory burning are important tools that reduce hazardous fuels and restore forests to healthier conditions.
Forest visitors who encounter smoky conditions are encouraged to close windows, turn lights on, and drive slowly. Smoke and flames may continue to be visible in pile units in days following ignition. Crews regularly patrol all burned pile units.
For more information about fires in Central Oregon, visit www.centraloregonfire.org or contact your local Forest Service office.