Ignitions planned on the Sisters and Bend-Fort Rock Ranger Districts
Central Oregon – If conditions remain favorable, firefighters will begin fall prescribed burning on the Deschutes National Forest this week. Multiple burns are planned starting this Wednesday and Thursday on the Sisters and Bend-Fort Rock Ranger Districts.
The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District is planning multiple days of burn operations about 5 miles north of Hole in the Ground and 22 miles southeast of La Pine. If conditions remain favorable, the burn could begin on Thursday. It could take up to four days to complete all three burn units covering a total of about 1,400 acres. These units were previously prescribed burned in 2006 and the project will help maintain reduced hazardous fuels. Due to the location, the public may see smoke in the Fort Rock area and along Hwy 31.
The Sisters Ranger District is planning a burn unit on Wednesday about 4 miles north of Sisters. This 92 acre burn will include traffic flaggers on Forest Service Road 1102 (Indian Ford Rd). On Thursday, there are planned ignitions on two units totaling 171 acres in the vicinity of Camp Sherman at the junction of Forest Service Roads 1216 and 1419. Traffic flaggers will be in place on Forest Service Road 1419. Smoke from these burns may be visible to those in Camp Sherman and Sisters.
These prescribed burns will help restore ponderosa pine ecosystems by reintroducing low intensity fire, increase the safety of nearby communities by reducing hazardous fuels, and improve wildlife habitat.
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 these projects. If smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas. Around all burn areas, hunters may notice periods of increased smoke as well.
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. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. 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.
*This post has been edited. The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District burn has been postponed. If conditions are favorable, ignition on those units would begin on Thursday.