Several temporary closures planned in area
(Update: Adding Kassidy Kern, Deschutes National Forest comments)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Firefighters on the Deschutes National Forest plan to ignite several burns Tuesday through Friday near the 25 Road Staging area, five miles west of Pine Mountain.
Up to 1,819 acres will be burned across four units — 25 Road Staging Area Blocks 5A, 5C, 5D, and 4A near the junction of Forest Roads 18 and 25. Firefighters will be burning approximately 500 acres a day through Friday, if conditions remain favorable.
For the safety of the public and firefighters working in the area, several temporary closures will be put in place. 25 Staging area and Camp II along with OHV trails: Camp 2 Learners Loop, #2-6, 10, 12, 18, 20-21, 25, 30, 40-43, 505. Additionally, several forest roads around these units will be closed and signed during operations.
Residents living near the Pine Mountain area may have morning smoke impacts and are encouraged to keep windows closed at night to minimize impacts.
Kassidy Kern of the Deschutes National Forest Service says the prescribed burns can prevent wildfires and protect homes.
"We'll have fires that will come right on our doorstep and we are going to have to send firefighters in to those fires when they hit," said Kern. "And the best thing we can do for our community is minimize that fire risk especially if it's adjacent to homes."
The goal of these burns is to reintroduce fire into a fire adapted ecosystem at a landscape level while improving wildlife habitat.
For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. If smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas.
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.
For more information, visit the Deschutes website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow on Twitter @CentralORFire.