Jackpot burning near Prineville planned for next week

In a continuation of recent prescribed burn projects, fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest are planning to ignite juniper jackpots on 1,000 acres near Prineville, Ore. as early as next week.

The Old Dry Creek prescribed burn project is located about eight miles northeast of Prineville, about one mile southeast of McKay Creek, and four miles west of Mill Creek. See attached map or visit: https://centraloregonfire.org/what-is-prescribed-fire/when-where-prescribed-fire-smoke/

This type of prescribed fire, known as “jackpot burning,” addresses high concentrations of naturally-occurring or thinning-related downed woody debris.

Firefighters will be burning individual concentrations of downed juniper trees left over from a large thinning project that was undertaken in coordination with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and under an agreement with adjacent private land owners.

Firefighters also plan to burn around 100 acres of juniper jackpots next week in the HEJ project area, just north of Big Summit Prairie on both sides of Forest Service Road 22.

The goals for the prescribed burns are to improve wildlife habitat and to remove hazardous fuels, which will reduce wildfire danger, protect nearby homes, and allow for a safer response to wildfires by wildland firefighters. Removing hazardous fuels promotes a landscape more resilient to wildfire and is in keeping with ongoing local efforts under the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.

Ignitions are expected to last two to three days. During active burning, smoke will be very visible from Prineville, Forest Service Roads 27 and 33, and private land in the McKay Creek valley. Smoke is expected to lay down in low-lying areas during the morning hours. No road closures are anticipated.

The Old Dry Creek project includes 2,697 acres of jackpots, but fire managers are only planning to ignite 1,000 acres at this time in order to minimize smoke impacts to the communities.

Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including jackpot burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.

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