BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes National Forest firefighters plan to implement understory prescribed burn operations across all three ranger districts this fall, officials said Tuesday, outlining areas of the planned projects, with specifics to come later.
If conditions are favorable, operations could begin as early as next week and continue throughout October, they said.
On the Sisters Ranger District, firefighters plan to conduct prescribed burn operations within the Highway 20, Sisters Area Fuels Reduction, and Metolius Basin project areas.
The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District plans to conduct prescribed burning primarily east of Highway 97 in the Flank, Opine, Deadlog, Odin and Rocket project areas. Firefighters may also conduct operations in the Big Eddy project area west of Bend, if conditions align.
The Crescent Ranger District plans to conduct operations southwest of Crescent and south of Highway 58 in the Sting project area.
Public Affairs Specialist Jaimie Olle said more detailed information on locations and acreage/size of the burns will come later, when they identify tentative days and locations.
"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," the agency said. "Once firefighters ignite prescribed burns, they monitor and patrol the units until they declare the burn out."
These prescribed burns are occurring within the Central Oregon Landscape, one of 21 focal landscapes identified within the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The implementation of these prescribed burns 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.