For Release: May 3, 2021
Burn will be very visible to residents of Bend
Bend, Ore— Tomorrow and potentially Wednesday, fuel specialists with the Deschutes National Forest with assistance from Bend Fire and Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry will conduct prescribed fire operations on both national forest and private lands southeast of Bend. The burn was originally planned to occur on Monday, but was delayed by weather.
Specialists will underburn 252 acres between the national forest lands and private lands. The burn units are located approximately ½ mile east of the High Desert Museum. The prescribed burning on the private lands is being done in coordination with the private landowner using Good Neighbor Authority.
Ignitions will begin at approximately 9 a.m. and should end by 5 p.m.
Smoke and residual burning will be visible in the area for up to a week post ignition. Subdivisions and neighborhoods on the south and east side of Bend can expect some nighttime and early morning smoke impacts after project implementation. Sunriver and Newberry Caldera could also be impacted if smoke settles to the south, southeast.
Smoke may impact U.S. Highway 97. Motorists should slow down and turn on their lights if smoke impacts their visibility. Warning signs will be on the highway and, if necessary, flaggers will be used to reduce impacts to traffic.
In addition to meeting forest restoration objectives by introducing fire into a ponderosa pine ecosystem, the underburning is occurring in Wildland-Urban Interface. Prescribed burning is an important preventative step in reducing potential impacts of a wildfire to Bend and critical transportation corridors.
The public can find an interactive map of prescribed burns as well as air quality information at this link: https://www.centraloregonfire.org/wildfire-smoke-air-quality-maps-2/ To sign up for text alerts about prescribed fires and wildfires, people should text COFIRE to 888-777.
The public is encouraged to close their windows at night. 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