Firefighters on the Sisters Ranger District will continue burning piles in the Melvin Butte project area south of Sisters, as conditions allow, beginning Thursday, the Deschutes National Forest said.
Piles may smolder, burn and produce smoke for several days after ignition. While smoke may linger in the area, there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation, the agency said. The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with previous vegetation management activities intended to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during summer wildfires.
No closures are anticipated with these operations. However, if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care, officials said. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
The public’s health is important to the Forest Service, the agency said While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health.
If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs smoke from prescribed fires (including pile burning), and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.