Prescribed Burning in Progress

Prescribed Burning locations across Central Oregon

With the arrival of favorable weather conditions, fire managers on the Deschutes National Forest will begin igniting prescribed burns and handpiles across our area over the next few weeks. This will include several high profile burns around Sisters, Bend, La Pine and Sunriver, Oregon.

The use of prescribed fire in Central Oregon’s fire-adapted ecosystems restores forests to healthier conditions, reduces and removes dense vegetation that contributes to high-intensity wildfires and protects our communities.

UPDATE: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

As conditions remain favorable, firefighters on the Deschutes National Forest plan to ignite several burn piles west of Sunriver and La Pine over the next few weeks.

The piles are made up of material left over from thinning projects designed to reduce hazardous fuels in the area and reduce the risk of a wildfire moving into nearby subdivisions. While smoke may be visible from nearby subdivisions or roads, no road closures are anticipated. Areas will be signed announcing the prescribed burning.

Some of the project areas include:

  • Puma – ½ mile west of Harper Bridge in Sunriver, near Spring River. Smoke and fire may be visible from Spring River Road. Signs will be in place.
  • Bob/Jag – 5 miles west of Sunriver along both FS Roads 40 and 45. Smoke and fire may be visible from paved roads and high elevations like Mt Bachelor.
  • Puma/Junction – 3 miles NW of La Pine along South Century Drive near Pistol Butte. Smoke and fire may be visible.

Pile burning differs from other forms of prescribed burn because it involves igniting by hand piles of vegetation, created during thinning or other types of fuel reduction work after the vegetation has had an opportunity to dry out. The dried vegetation in the piles burns hot and clean and does not produce the amount of smoke that understory burns (prescribed fires) produce. Understory burns are also ignited by hand, but the goal is to burn green vegetation across a broad area. Both pile and understory burning are important tools that reduce hazardous fuels and restore forests to healthier conditions.

You can find out where to expect prescribed fires in our area by using the interactive map provided by the Central Oregon Fire Info burning bend sisters oregon bend


The West Bend Project

What is the West Bend Project? Learn more here!

Over the past couple years, close to 700 acres of prescribed burning has been completed in the West Bend Project area. The West Bend Project is designed to restore forest health while reducing the risk of high severity wildfire to our local community.

Smell smoke? See smoke? Here's what to do.

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 the 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:

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.

Completed Prescribed Burns

Posted: November 11, 2020
Firefighters will begin igniting approximately 54 acres of hand piles leftover from tree removal operations between Lava Butte and Sunriver on the east side of Highway 97. Crews will likely take 1-2 days to complete these ignitions and fire and smoke will be visible from the highway for several days. Smoke could drift onto the highway, but no closures are anticipated. Firefighters near Crescent will also be burning piles near Highway 97 and Highway 58, which are also expected to be open while ignitions are underway. Additionally, firefighters in Sisters will continue burning piles around Melvin Butte this week.

Posted: November 1, 2020
Firefighters on the Sisters Ranger District will continue pile burning in the Melvin Butte project area tomorrow. The piles are located approximately 9 miles south of Sisters near Forest Road 16 in the Three Creeks area.


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