Central Oregon – If conditions remain favorable, firefighters on the Deschutes National Forest plan to ignite two prescribed burns tomorrow, the first is southwest of Sisters and the other is approximately 25 miles southeast of La Pine.
Ignitions are scheduled to begin around 10:00 a.m. for the burn on SAFR unit 131, 3 miles southwest of Sisters, just east of Forest Road 1513. The smoke from this 62 acre burn will be visible from Sisters and people using the Metolius-Windigo Trail can expect a short duration trail closure on a portion of the trail just north of Cow Camp. A reroute has been designated for hiker and horse travel will be offered through signage near the prescribed burn area.
Firefighters will also be burning a 350 acre unit off Forest Road 18 about 25 miles southeast of La Pine called Maintenance 2D. If there’s time, they will also ignite the adjacent unit Maintenance 2C, that’s 875 acres. Ignitions are scheduled to start at 10:00 a.m. and continue through late afternoon.
On Friday, ignitions are scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. on South Bend 137, a 286 acre unit south of Bend adjacent to Lost Tracks Golf Course and China Hat Road. The Deschutes National Forest has partnered with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for this burn which is intended to improve habitat for wildlife. Additionally, there is a significant amount of trash that has been dumped on this unit. Before this burn can happen, inmates from the Deschutes County jail will be cleaning up trash on the unit and Bend Towing will be hauling off large abandoned campers on Thursday. The Deschutes National Forest appreciates the cooperation of our community partners in helping us clean and prepare the area to be burned so we can restore the forest and reduce hazardous fuel accumulations within the Wildland Urban Interface near Bend.
Due to the location of these units, the public could see smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby highways and Forest roads. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby Forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. The public is encouraged to close their windows at night and if smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas. 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.
For more information, visit the Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.