SUNRIVER, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Firefighters on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District plan about 500 acres of prescribed fire within the wildland-urban interface adjacent to Sunriver early next week.
If conditions are favorable, firefighters will begin ignitions on Monday and could continue Tuesday, the U.S. Forest Service said Friday.
The prescribed fire units are located on the north and south sides of Cottonwood Road, bordering Highway 97 to the west.
Smoke will be visible from Bend, Sunriver and La Pine, and it could impact Highway 97 south of Bend and Cottonwood Road into northern Sunriver.
While no road or trail closures are anticipated, signage and flaggers will be in place should smoke impact roadways. Short traffic delays are possible but not expected, the Deschutes National Forest said.
Fire managers said they are implementing this understory burn to reduce wildfire risk to communities by providing defensible space and safe evacuation routes for the Sunriver area and adjacent recreation sites.
Prescribed burning reintroduces and maintains fire within the fire-adapted ecosystem helping to stabilize and improve the resiliency of forest conditions while increasing public and firefighter safety. Once ignited, units are monitored and patrolled until they are declared out.
The community of Sunriver, and possibly Deschutes River Woods and the south side of Bend could be impacted by smoke for a short period of time during the ignition phase of the burn, and night and morning hours, when temperatures are cooler keeping inversions low.
Prescribed fires can protect homes from tragic wildfires, Forest Service officials said. 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 fire in Central Oregon
For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, visit the interactive website at centraloregonfire.org/ or visit www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.