Contact: Jean Nelson-Dean, Public Affairs Officer, Deschutes National Forest, 458-231-1242
Date: December 3, 2020
Melvin Butte area will be the focus
Sisters, Ore.- Beginning today firefighters on the Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest will ignite several burn piles outside the City of Sisters in the Melvin Butte area.
As conditions remain favorable, firefighters will begin igniting approximately 120 acres of hand piles within the Vin Stewardship area. The units proposed are along the 1628 road system in the Melvin Butte project area. Please see attached map for exact location. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
The intent of the project is to reduce hazardous fuels and to reduce slash in areas to allow ponderosa pine to be planted in the future. Smoke will likely be visible from Sisters, Highway 20, Plainview and other greater Sisters area communities. If smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.
Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. While smoke may linger in the area, there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation.
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.
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