As favorable weather conditions return to Central Oregon, fuels specialists with the Forest Service said Friday they are preparing for the spring prescribed burning program and outlined their plans for this year.
Prescribed fires, often completed in conjunction with thinning and mowing, reduce hazardous fuels which may decrease future wildfire intensity and allow for more effective containment.
Prescribed fire is also one tool used by fire managers and ecologists to improve forest and rangeland health and protect the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat.
Prescribed fires are set when precise weather conditions allow for a variety of fire intensities to meet fuels reduction and natural resource objectives.
Fuels specialists may spend years planning a burn and work very closely with wildlife biologists, foresters, hydrologists, and other resource managers, as well as adjacent landowners, to ensure the burn meets resource needs.
Prescribed fires are ignited when predicted weather patterns and fuel conditions will minimize smoke impacts to air quality and public health. All prescribed burns are completed in compliance with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan.
Specifically, the following prescribed burns are being considered for implementation this spring across the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests:
Sisters Ranger District:
• Metolius Basin Steward-170 acres cooperatively burned with the Deschutes Land Trust; 1 mile southwest of Metolius Meadows on Forest Road 500 in the Metolius Preserve
• Sisters Area Fuels Reduction (SAFR) NW - up to 400 acres between Highway 242 and Forest Road 300 near Cold Spring Campground
• McCache North – up to 650 acres off of Forest Road 1014 near Graham Butte
• 1425 – up to 800 acres off of Forest Road 1425 in the Metolius Basin
• Glaze Forest Restoration – up to 160 acres in the Glaze Forest Stewardship area, between Forest Roads 330 and 300, adjacent to Glaze Meadow
Bend – Fort Rock Ranger District:
• South Bend – 326 acres ½ mile west of Horse Butte on the southeast side of Bend. This project could begin early April and will be highly visible to Bend residents.
• Extra and Nut – 670 acres 10 miles northwest of La Pine within and adjacent to the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest
• Dilman – 62 acres 8 miles west of La Pine along Forest Road 44 (South Wickiup Reservoir Road)
• Sua CT – 167 acres 2 miles west of Sunriver along Forest Road 41 (Conklin Road)
• Katalo – 92 acres 6 miles west of Sunriver along Forest Road 45 (Sunriver-Mt. Bachelor Road)
• Mix – 43 acres 19 miles east of La Pine near Willow Butte
• Fuzzy4 – 125 acres southwest of Cabin Butte along Forest Road 18 (China Hat Road)
• Fuzzy 11 & 298 – 533 acres southeast of Coyote Butte along Forest Road 1820
• Fry - 107 acres on Skyliners Road, 7 miles west of Bend
• Oz 1 – 12 acres ½ mile south of the High Desert Museum
• Oz 6 – 40 acres 1 mile northwest of Sugar Pine Butte along Forest Road 9720
• Oz 8 – 61 acres adjacent to the eastern side of Sunriver along County Highway 40
Crescent Ranger District:
- Hammy – 150 acres on Ringo Butte along Forest Road 6210
- Jig – 172 acres 1 mile west of the Cascade Lakes Highway along Forest Road 4652 (near Wickiup Reservoir)
- Weiser Units- 97 acres split between 2 units west of Highway 58 near the Cascade Estates subdivision
Ochoco National Forest:
- Coyote Hills – 400 acres east of Haystack Reservoir in the Crooked River National Grassland
- East Maurys– 2200 acres on the east end of the Maury Mountains
- Squirrel Ridge – 275 acres along Mill Creek near Wildcat Campground
- Zane – 500 acres east of Big Summit Prairie and Black Mountain
- West Maurys /Florida creek – 400 acres on the West end of the Maury Mountains near Florida Creek
In all cases, the areas around the burns will be signed to inform motorists of the prescribed fire activities and people recreating in or traveling through the area should use caution as smoke may affect visibility and travel.
If motorists encounter smoke as a result of the burning, they should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Patrols and mop-up activities will occur during and following ignitions and night patrols will occur on an as-needed basis, depending on conditions.
Individual media releases will be sent out prior to each burn providing more information on the type of burn, the location and information on any road or area closures.