Prescribed burn planned for McKay area Thursday in Ochocos

Central Oregon – With the return of warmer weather and drying conditions in the Ochoco National Forest, fire managers hope to complete another fuels treatment in the McKay area just east of Prineville starting Thursday, if conditions allow.

Working in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, objectives for the burn include improving habitat and forage for big game and livestock, while introducing fire back into a fire-adapted Ponderosa pine and fir ecosystem.

Plans call for igniting grasses and other ground fuels in an underburn on about 550 acres, located 14 miles northeast of Prineville near the junction of Forest Service Roads 27 and 2705. Ignitions would begin late Thursday morning and may continue into Friday.

This burn is part of a larger 750-acre unit the Forest has been working on for several years. To see the unit boundaries for this project, as well as other planned treatments, visit our interactive map for Central Oregon prescribed burns at: https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/

Smoke is expected to be most visible during active ignitions, but will linger above the burn unit and within adjacent forested areas for several days. Smoke will be most visible from Forest Roads 27, 2705 and 33, and on adjacent Forest system roads. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby Forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated with this project.

The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. 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. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: https://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.

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