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, February 5, 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.

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 summer 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.

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: January 29, 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.

Posted: January 22, 2020
Fuels specialists with the Prineville BLM plan to burn about 20 acres of machine landing piles near La Pine. Burning is expected to begin January 22nd, and will continue through the week as weather and conditions allow. The piles are located in two spots within the Outback Project Area. The first unit is 1/2 mile south of Fall River Estates. The second unit is seven miles south of the Highway 97/Highway 31 junction, on the north side of the road.

Posted: January 14, 2020
Over the next week, fuels specialists with the Prineville BLM plan to take advantage of the snowy conditions to burn piles to reduce the hazardous material leftover from two thinning projects. The High Desert Shrub Steppe project is located east of Paulina and consists of about 120 acres of juniper slash. Crews will also work on 200 acres of piles in the Prineville Lake Acres project off Upper Davis Loop Rd., north of Prineville Reservoir.

Posted: January 8, 2020
Firefighters plan to burn more juniper slash piles beginning today and continuing through the rest of the week on the Crooked River National Grassland, about 13 miles northeast of Sisters. A smoke column may be visible from nearby homes and communities, but no smoke impacts to residents are expected. Firefighters plan to ignite 329 acres of slash that resulted from the Westside Stewardship project. The units are located just west of Whychus Creek and south of the Alder Springs Trailhead, approximately 6 miles northeast of Henkle Butte in the southwest corner of the National Grassland.

The juniper slash piles are the result of the Westside Stewardship project, which was a joint endeavor over the last decade by the US Forest Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation to improve forage and habitat conditions for a myriad of wildlife species across nearly 3,000 acres on the Crooked River National Grassland. Past work on these acres has included juniper removal, hand-piling and machine piling, prescribed burning, as well as treatments to reduce the spread of invasive plants.

Posted: January 7, 2020
Central Oregon firefighters plan to burn juniper slash leftover from a large thinning project in the Willow Creek drainage of Crooked River National Grassland today. Nearby residents and motorists along Highway 26 can expect to see light smoke this afternoon. Firefighters plan to ignite about 56 acres of juniper slash today before predicted moisture arrives later this week. The burn units are located about 7 miles south of Madras in and around the Willow Creek canyon, just east of the highway. Ignitions will last about 4 hours. The heaviest concentrations of smoke will be in the area for a few hours following ignitions, with light smoke lingering in the area for about 1-2 days depending on the incoming weather. The slash is leftover from a large-scale restoration project in the Willow Creek drainage. The project removed thousands of junipers to restore range conditions and water availability.

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