(Update: Burn SE of Bend to continue Saturday)
On west side of Hwy. 20; residents in Harrington Loop area urged to keep doors, windows closed
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Firefighters completed a three-day, 984-acre prescribed burn Saturday about 11 miles southeast of Bend, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
No more ignitions are planned for the next two days in the Flank Project Area, though smoke may be visible from Highway 97 and nearby areas, and Bend-Fort Rock District crews will remain on scene conducting mop-up.
Firefighters on the Bend-Fort Rock and Sisters ranger districts conducted prescribed burn operations in recent days, completing a roughly 350-acre burn southeast of Sisters Wednesday and Thursday and starting the 984-acre burn Thursday southeast of Bend.
The Sisters Ranger District completed prescribed burning about two miles southeast of Sisters near the Sisters Rodeo Grounds on the west side of Highway 20 within the Sisters Area Fuels Reduction (SAFR) Project Area.
About 115 acres was burned on Wednesday, and 210 acres Thursday. Smoke and flames were visible from Highway 20. Flaggers and signage were present and utilized as needed during operations adjacent to Highway 20.
Residents in the Harrington Loop area were encouraged to keep doors and windows closed to minimize smoke impacts. Road and trail closures were not anticipated, although the public was asked to use caution where fire traffic and firefighters are present.
The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District began prescribed burning Thursday about 11 miles southeast of Bend and three miles northwest of the junction of Forest Service Roads 18 and 25, in the Flank Project Area.
Trail closures were in place on OHV Trails #20 and #25 due to the prescribed burn operations and are expected to last through the weekend.
Prescribed burning reintroduces and maintains fire within a fire-dependent ecosystem, helping to stabilize and improve the resiliency of forest conditions while increasing public and firefighter safety, officials say. Once firefighters ignite prescribed burns, they monitor and patrol the units until they declare the burn out.
This prescribed burn is occurring within the Central Oregon Landscape, one of 21 focal landscapes identified within the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The implementation of this prescribed burn supports the Deschutes National Forest’s commitment to addressing the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, which aims to reduce severity of wildfires, protect communities, and improve the health and resiliency of fire-dependent forests.
Prescribed burns can protect homes from tragic wildfires. Fire management officials work with Oregon Department of Forestry smoke specialists to plan prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are conducted when weather is most likely to move smoke up and away from our communities. Sometimes, weather patterns change, and some smoke will be present during prescribed burns.
What does this mean for you?
During prescribed burns, smoke may settle in low-lying areas overnight.
- All residents are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid smoke impacts
- When driving in smoky areas, drivers should slow down and turn on headlights
- If you have heart or lung disease, asthma, or other chronic conditions, ask your doctor about how to protect yourself from smoke
- Go to centraloregonfire.org to learn more about smoke safety and prescribed burning in Central Oregon
For more information on prescribed burning in Central Oregon, visit centraloregonfire.org/ and for information specific to the Deschutes National Forest visit www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes. Follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE” to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.