Juniper burning continues today on Crooked River National Grassland

Firefighters plan to burn more juniper slash piles beginning today and continuing through the rest of the week on the Crooked River National Grassland, about 13 miles northeast of Sisters.

A smoke column may be visible from nearby homes and communities, but no smoke impacts to residents are expected.

Firefighters plan to ignite 329 acres of slash that resulted from the Westside Stewardship project. The units are located just west of Whychus Creek and south of the Alder Springs Trailhead, approximately 6 miles northeast of Henkle Butte in the southwest corner of the National Grassland.

The juniper slash piles are the result of the Westside Stewardship project, which was a joint endeavor over the last decade by the US Forest Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation to improve forage and habitat conditions for a myriad of wildlife species across nearly 3,000 acres on the Crooked River National Grassland. Past work on these acres has included juniper removal, hand-piling and machine piling, prescribed burning, as well as treatments to reduce the spread of invasive plants.

For more information on the Westside Stewardship project, check out this video from the National Wild Turkey Federation:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZLxls974bA&feature=youtu.be

This prescribed burning operation is the final treatment associated with this stewardship project and represents the culmination of a decade of work to improve habitat conditions, including critical winter range habitat for big game and nesting habitat for sagebrush-steppe obligate bird species.

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

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