Prineville, Ore. — The BLM plans to begin burning 627 acres of hand piles the week of January 8th if conditions are favorable. The piles are within the Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project area which is adjacent to the community of Crooked River Ranch.
It will take multiple days to complete ignitions. Implementation will be dependent on weather conditions and resource availability. Ignitions may be spread out over several weeks. Firefighters will monitor the piles during and after ignition until they are declared out.
The project area will be clearly marked with signage. No road closures or delays are anticipated.
The Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project is an on-going effort that began in 2019. The project is designed to reduce wildfire risk in the Wildland Urban Interface. The thinning and pile burning treatments will help to establish defensible space around the community of Crooked River Ranch in the event of future wildfires. The fuels reduction activities will also improve wildlife habitat. Additionally, these efforts help to restore and maintain the shrub steppe and old-growth juniper ecosystem.
The piles are concentrations of leftover materials from previous thinning projects. Where possible, material was first offered for firewood, commercial sale, or biomass use. Some material was also scattered to rehabilitate sites and close user-created routes.
Prescribed burns are completed in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan. Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Efforts will be made to minimize smoke impacts to nearby communities
What does this mean for you?
During prescribed burns, smoke may settle in low-lying areas overnight.
• All residents are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid smoke impacts.
• 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 prescribed burning in Central Oregon.
For more information about the Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project, call the BLM Prineville District at (541) 416-6700. For information on prescribed burning in Central Oregon, visit centraloregonfire.org. Follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.