Beginning on February 13, 2024, fuels specialists with the Prineville Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will burn hand piles on 139 acres south of Highway 20 along Fox Butte Road. The piles are created from thinning projects designed to remove juniper and reduce the threat of rangeland wildfire in Greater Sage-grouse habitat. Burning will continue until ignitions are complete or conditions become unfavorable. This burn is expected to take one day to complete and piles will be monitored until declared out.
The BLM contracted with the Heart of Oregon (HOC), a local non-profit that empowers youth and young adults through employment, job training, education, and service to Central Oregon communities, to assist with the thinning and piling. For the past 20 years, Heart of Oregon has served low-to-moderate income Opportunity Youth ages 16-24 who are disconnected from school and work but are ready to thrive when given adequate support. With the goal of career readiness, HOC programs provide training in conservation, construction, childcare, and customer service. For this project, HOC youth will be observing the ignitions as part of a program to train youth in prescribed fire.
Although smoke may be visible from Hwy 20, no closures are planned. If smoke drifts toward the highway, drivers should slow down, turn on headlights and proceed with caution. Smoke may settle into the lowlands overnight. The entrance to Fox Butte Road will be signed with prescribed burning signs.