Fire managers plan to burn piles left over from thinning projects and jackpots, or heavy concentrations of fuels, in several units this fall across the Ochoco National Forest, as weather conditions allow.
Burning in the fall is a safe way to remove hazardous fuels from the forest and reduce the potential for high intensity wildfires during the summer months, resulting in a safer response for wildland firefighters and protecting nearby communities.
Plans call for ignitions of jackpots on 200 to 300 acres in the McKay area about 12 miles northeast of Prineville beginning tomorrow, Wednesday September 25, and continuing through Thursday.
These jackpots are part of the AMP project, which includes around 3,200 acres of proposed treatments south of McKay Creek along Forest Service Roads 27 and 33 in the Green Mountain vicinity. Jackpot burning is preparation for a proposed prescribed burn treatment in the AMP project area that could occur next year or in coming years.
This week’s jackpot burning only includes a portion of that unit, up to 300 acres. Light smoke will be visible from Prineville and may impact dispersed camping sites along Forest Service Roads 27 and 33.
No burning is planned this Saturday or Sunday, September 28 and 29, because it is the opening weekend for mule deer rifle hunting season.
This week’s proposed treatments are not in areas with roads, so impacts to visitors are expect to be minimal. Firefighters packed fuel into the burn units on Monday using a pack string because the area does not have motor vehicle access. Workers will hike in tomorrow and Thursday to complete the pile burning operations.
This fall and winter, firefighters will also look for opportunities to ignite slash piles in the HEJ project area, which includes around 1,100 acres just north of Big Summit Prairie, located on both sides of Forest Service Road 22. Public notifications will be sent out when firefighters propose pile burning in that unit.