Juniper jackpot burning slated for Thursday on the Crooked River National Grassland

Prineville, Ore, March 20, 2024— Firefighters from the Ochoco National Forest and Prineville Interagency Hotshot Crew are planning a prescribed burn near Grizzly Mountain on the Crooked River National Grassland on Thursday, March 21.

The 271 acre unit was site of a training burn for the Central Oregon Wildfire School in the spring of 2023, following multiple seasons as an open firewood cutting unit. The project is located north of Highway 26, approximately 12 miles northwest of Prineville and 18 miles southeast of Madras on the Crooked River National Grassland.

This type of prescribed fire, known as “jackpot burning,” addresses high concentrations of naturally occurring or thinning-related downed woody debris. This unit was mechanically thinned and then opened to the public for firewood collection. Removing juniper restores the grassland ecosystem by maintaining bitterbrush for big game winter forage and grazing and improving soil conditions for native grasses.

While no road or trail closures are anticipated, forest users travelling along Highway 26 near Grizzly Mountain will see smoke, as will travelers on Highway 97 and nearby landowners.  Prescribed fire signs will be posted along Highway 26, but delays are not anticipated. Once firefighters ignite prescribed burns, they monitor and patrol the units until they declare the burn out.

This prescribed burn 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 prescribed burn supports the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland’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. Prescribed burns can protect homes and private property from tragic wildfires.

Fire management officials work with Oregon Department of Forestry smoke specialists to plan prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are conducted when weather is most likely to move smoke up and away from our communities. Sometimes, weather patterns change, and some smoke will be present during prescribed burns. 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. For more information on prescribed burning in Central Oregon, visit www.centraloregonfire.org and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.

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