Prineville, ORE.— Ignition of the 5,072 acre Canyon 66 prescribed burn was completed yesterday around 11 pm, approximately 30 miles east of Prineville on the Ochoco National Forest. Firefighters are now securing the burn perimeter and taking care of hazards to public and firefighter safety. Smoke from the unit will be visible in coming days as fire continues to burn in the interior.
Forest visitors are encouraged to use Forest Service Road 4210 again today (east of Round Mountain) to access the Walton Lake area. Firefighters are currently addressing hazards along Forest Road 22 between the junctions with Forest Roads 42 and 2210. They hope to have the route clear for safe travel by the end of today. Forest Roads 2610 and 300 remain temporarily closed within the prescribed fire operational area.
Smoke has impacted surrounding communities at different times over the last 48 hours. Prevailing winds help to disperse smoke during the daylight hours while smoke tends to settle at lower points overnight. Heavy smoke has dissipated in the late mornings and early afternoons as the air heats up and the inversion lifts. Air quality is expected to improve significantly in the coming days now that major ignitions have ended. A spot weather forecast for the burn area shows a likely chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Stronger winds are expected to help disperse smoke to the east and northeast.
While the ignition phase is complete, firefighters have more work to do. Using water and hand tools, firefighters “mop up” around the burn perimeter to ensure fire stays within the unit. They preserve large trees and prevent hazards by putting out fire burning at the base of the trunk. They also assess and cut any hazard trees along forest roads and trails to ensure safe travel. Engine crews and fire managers will continue to patrol the burn for several weeks.