With consistently warmer temperatures, fire managers on the Deschutes National Forest will be taking advantage of favorable weather conditions and begin igniting prescribed burns across the Deschutes National Forest as early as Monday.
The first burn will take place on April 2, approximately 2 ½ miles west of Sisters, ½ mile west of the Tollgate subdivision and 1 mile north of Crossroads subdivision. The burn unit (SAFR NE 231) is 95 acres and should be completed in one day.
Burning in this unit is designed to decrease hazardous fuels accumulations within the Wildland Urban Interface near to the city of Sisters and surrounding communities to reduce the risk of high intensity wildfire as well as improving wildlife habitat.
Burning is likely to continue later next week across the forest and in the weeks ahead. Several high profile burns are planned around Sisters, Bend, La Pine and Sunriver, including units west and south of Bend, adjacent to Sisters and near the High Desert Museum. Notifications will be made when each potential unit comes into prescription, meaning when precise wind and weather conditions are forecasted and fire staff is available to execute the burns safely.
Due to the location of these units, the public could see smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby highways and Forest roads. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby Forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated with these projects. The public is encouraged to close their windows at night and if smoke is on the roadway, turn on headlights and slow down while traveling through smoky areas. The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs smoke from prescribed fires (including pile burning), and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
Keep up with prescribed burns in Central Oregon by visiting this live map: https://www.fs.fed.us/r6/webmaps/deschutes/cofms-rxfire/
For more information, visit the Deschutes website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.