As fall weather brings shorter days and cooler temperatures, fuels specialists with the Bureau of Land Management Prineville District Office are preparing for the fall/winter prescribed burn program.
As early as Friday, and continuing through the next few months, depending on conditions, specialists will treat a variety of areas with prescribed fire across Central Oregon. These prescribed burns are planned in the following areas:
· Clarno Agricultural Fields: 187 acres; BLM lands near Clarno adjacent to the John Day River. Fields are burned during the dormant season to increase native grass and forbs for wildlife.
· Bridge Creek Agricultural Fields: 192 acres; BLM lands west of Mitchell along Bridge Creek. Fields are burned during the dormant season to increase native grass and forbs for wildlife.
· Prineville Lake Acres Project: 204 acres of hand piles 12 miles south of Prineville. The project is south of the Upper Davis Loop Road and north of the Prineville Reservoir.
· High Desert Shrub Steppe Project: up to 7300 acres of juniper slash on BLM lands south of Brothers and an additional 122 acres east of Paulina, Oregon.
· Tumalo Ponderosa Pine Project: 10 acres of machine and hand piles three miles west of Tumalo.
· La Pine Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project: 50 acres of pile burning east of La Pine State Park and another 50 acres south of Sun Forest Estates subdivision.
· Williamson Creek: 500 acres of prescribed burning near the corner of Millican Road and Reservoir Rd southwest of Prineville.
The piles are concentrations of leftover materials from previous thinning projects designed to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during wildfires. Where possible, material was first offered for firewood, commercial sale, or biomass use; with some remaining material scattered to rehabilitate sites and close user-created routes.
The projects are each expected to take several days, and crews will move between each project depending on site specific weather. Main roads in the area will be signed to inform residents of the prescribed burn and no road closures or delays are expected. Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Smoke may settle in overnight, and where necessary, motorists should reduce speeds and turn on headlights.
All prescribed burning is highly dependent on favorable temperature, moisture and wind conditions. Each of these prescribed burns will only be started when the conditions are right to meet the objectives of the burn, while minimizing smoke impacts to any nearby communities. All prescribed burn areas will be patrolled during and following ignitions. Prescribed burns are completed in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan.
For more information about prescribed burning, contact the Prineville BLM at (541) 416-6700, or see a complete listing of all the upcoming prescribed burning activities in your area at http://www.centraloregonfire.org/.