Prineville, Ore. — As fall weather brings shorter days and cooler temperatures, fuels specialists with the Prineville District, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are preparing for fall and winter prescribed burn projects. Specialists plan to begin prescribed burning as early as Monday, October 31. These projects are expected to continue over the next few months, depending on weather conditions. The district plans to use prescribed fire to treat a total of 23,497 acres across BLM-managed lands in central Oregon. Prescribed burn projects are planned in the following areas:
• Clarno Agriculture Field Project: 71 acres of noxious weeds west of Clarno in the John Day River corridor
• High Desert Shrub Steppe Project: 21,158 acres of juniper slash near the Brothers, Hampton, and Paulina areas
• Outback/Darlene Salvage Project: 1,391 acres of machine and hand piles south of La Pine
• Steelhead Falls Project: 367 acres of hand piles in the Crooked River Ranch area
• Williamson Creek Project: 510 acres of hand piles southeast of Millican Road and Reservoir Road
The piles are concentrations of leftover materials from previous thinning projects designed to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during wildfires. Juniper removal in the High Desert Shrub Steppe Project also has the added benefit of improving Greater Sage-grouse habitat. Where possible, material was first offered for firewood, commercial sale, or biomass use; with some remaining material scattered to rehabilitate sites and close user-created routes.
Each project can take several days or several weeks to complete, depending on the size. Crews will move between each project area based on site-specific weather. Main roads within the project areas will be signed to inform residents and the public of planned prescribed fire activity. No road closures or delays are expected. Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Smoke may settle into low-lying areas, canyons, and river corridors overnight. Motorists should reduce speeds and turn on headlights when necessary.
All prescribed burning is highly dependent on favorable temperature, moisture, and wind conditions. Each of these prescribed burns will only be implemented if the conditions are right to meet the objectives of the burn, while minimizing smoke impacts to nearby communities. All prescribed burn areas will be patrolled during and following ignitions. Prescribed burns are completed in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan.
For more information about prescribed burning, please contact the Prineville BLM at (541) 416-6700, or see a complete listing of all the upcoming prescribed burning activities in your area at https://centraloregonfire.org/.