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Forest Service crews complete pile-burning operations beside Highway 97 south of Bend

Deschutes National Forest crews ignite piles of woody debris along Hwy. 97 south of Bend
U.S. Forest Service
Deschutes National Forest crews ignite piles of woody debris along Hwy. 97 south of Bend

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Firefighters on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District conducted their last pile-burning operations Friday adjacent to Highway 97 between Lava Butte north to the High Desert Museum on the west side of the highway.

Firefighters ignited piles and completed that work by late Friday morning, officials said. Smoke and flames may be visible from the Highway 97 corridor, officials said. Signage were in place to alert drivers of pile-burning operations.

"This was the last section in that area for pile-burning this winter," Deschutes National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Jaimie said.

Officials advised that the piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Once ignited, firefighters monitor piles until they are declared out. "Please do not report ignitions," the announcement said.

While smoke may linger in the area, removing these large accumulations of woody debris during the winter months minimizes fire danger, the Forest Service says. The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with vegetation management activities being done to help maintain and restore forest and ecosystem health while reducing hazardous fuels loading.

What does this mean for you?

The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas due to cool night-time temperatures.

  • 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 to learn more about smoke safety and pile burning in Central Oregon

For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, visit or and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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