BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Beginning Monday and lasting through the week, firefighters on the Deschutes National Forest plan to ignite several burn piles outside of Sisters, Sunriver and Bend.
On Monday, ignitions were underway for piles south of Highway 242 and north of Trout Creek Butte with the remnants of the Milli Fire salvage. Piles around Melvin Butte are scheduled for ignitions later in the week.
In addition, firefighters will be burning piles west of Bend that will likely be visible from Cascade Lakes Highway and Forest Road 41, piles leftover from the tree removal in the Caldera outside of La Pine and piles near Lava River Cave and near Forest Road 9720, east of Sunriver.
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 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. 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.