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Sisters Ranger District plans pile burning on 1,200 acres near Melvin Butte, Black Crater

KTVZ file

Starting Wednesday, continuing into winter

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Sisters Ranger District plans to conduct pile burning in the Melvin Butte and Black Crater areas. Fuels specialists will ignite 1,024 acres of piles near Melvin Butte, 10 miles southwest of Sisters and 15 miles west of Bend. In addition, they plan to ignite 192 acres of piles northeast of Black Crater, located seven miles west of Sisters.

Fuels specialists will begin ignitions in these areas on Wednesday and continue throughout the fall and winter as conditions allow.

No road or trail closures are anticipated. Smoke impacts are expected to be minimal; however, smoke may be visible from the greater Sisters area and Highways 20 and 242. Once ignited, piles are monitored by firefighters until declared out.

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.

Fire management officials work with Oregon Department of Forestry smoke specialists to analyze weather conditions and anticipated smoke dispersion to determine burn dates. When smoke is present, motorists should reduce speed and turn on headlights. All efforts will be made to limit smoke impacts to area neighborhoods and communities. The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas due to cool night-time temperatures. Residents in areas near burn operations are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid possible smoke impacts.

For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, visit the interactive website at http://www.centraloregonfire.org/  or visit  www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. For further questions contact the Sisters Ranger District at (541) 549-7700.

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