Deschutes National Forest Firefighters Start Pile Burning Season

If conditions favorable, firefighters could start ignitions today

Central Oregon — Firefighters across the Deschutes National Forest plan to begin pile burning as favorable conditions exist. Firefighters select pile burning units for ignition based on moisture levels, forecasted weather and conditions predicted to move smoke away from communities where possible. Firefighters primarily plan to start with higher elevation piles. Ignitions could begin as soon as today and last through January 2024.

The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District plans to implement pile burning in areas west of Bend, west of Sunriver and southeast of La Pine. Ignitions could begin as early as Wednesday.

Crescent Ranger District firefighters plan to conduct pile burning across the district, including southeast of Crescent near Windigo Pass, northwest of Crescent in the Forest Service Road 1668 area, west of Crescent near Odell Butte, and northwest of Crescent in the Davis Mountain area.

The Sisters Ranger District firefighters plan to conduct pile burning in a variety of locations, including the Melvin Butte area southwest of Sisters, the Green Ridge area northeast of Sisters, and areas around Camp Sherman. If conditions are favorable, firefighters will start ignitions on piles in the Melvin Butte area today.

Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Once ignited, firefighters monitor piles until they are declared out. Please do not report ignitions.

While smoke may linger in the area, removing these large accumulations of woody debris during the winter months minimizes fire danger. The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with vegetation management activities being done to help maintain and restore forest and ecosystem health while reducing hazardous fuels loading.

What does this mean for you?

The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas due to cool night-time temperatures.

  • When driving in smoky areas, drivers should slow down and turn on headlights
  • If you have heart or lung disease, asthma, or other chronic conditions, ask your doctor about how to protect yourself from smoke
  • Go to centraloregonfire.org to learn more about smoke safety and pile burning in Central Oregon

For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, visit centraloregonfire.org/ or fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.

This work is occurring within the Central Oregon Landscape, one of 21 focal landscapes identified within the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The implementation of this work supports the Deschutes National Forest’s commitment to addressing the Wildfire Crisis Strategy which aims to reduce severity of wildfires, protect communities, and improve the health and resiliency of fire-dependent forests


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