A public service announcement from the US Forest Service
Starting as early as Thursday, October 1, 2015, fuels specialists on the Deschutes National Forest intend to ignite several prescribed burns across the forest beginning east of Highway 97, 1 mile west of Horse Butte along the south side of Bend, and 3 miles west of Sisters, adjacent to Black Butte Ranch. If conditions remain favorable fuels specialists will continue burning a unit 3 miles northwest of Wickiup Reservoir on either Friday or Saturday and will move west of Bend at the beginning of next week with two additional prescribed burns.
The prescribed burns scheduled for Thursday include an 80-acre unit south of Bend is located within the congressionally designated Deschutes Skyline Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration boundary which receives funding towards accelerated forest restoration and a 51 acre prescribed burn outside of Sisters that is part of the Glaze Meadow Forest Restoration Project. The project objectives for the burn south of Bend include reducing hazardous fuels and creating defensible space within the wildland urban interface. The burn objectives for the Glaze Meadow unit outside of Sisters include improving and invigorating aspen growing conditions to address the declining health of aspen habitats.
On Friday or Saturday, fuels specialists are planning to burn a 281 acre unit 3 miles northwest of Wickiup Reservoir. There is a possibility of continuing to burn in the South Bend area west of Horse Butte if conditions remain favorable.
Finally, additional prescribed burns are scheduled west of Bend beginning on Monday. The first is COD 9, a 78 acre unit within the West Bend Project area about 3 miles southwest of Bend, across from Widgi Creek Golf Course. Next up could be “Wet Unit 3,” an 85 acre unit south of Skyliner’s road on the east side of the Skyliner subdivision.
All prescribed burns have been scheduled to take advantage of the cooler and more humid fall season, which minimizes the detrimental impacts of a summer wildfire by consuming surface fuels and reducing shrub and small tree densities. These prescribed fire projects are being conducted to reduce the threat of large scale wildfire to the community of Bend.
No road closures are anticipated with any of the projects although drivers can expect road flaggers on Skyliners Road during periods of time where dense smoke may limit visibility. Smoke from the South Bend unit will likely impact Woodside Ranch residences, particularly those located along Ridgeview Drive. Smoke from the West Bend COD burn could impact the Highlands subdivision and the golf course in Tetherow as well as Widgi Creek, Entrada, and Inn of the 7th Mountain, which are also nearby. Smoke from the Wet Unit 3 burn will impact Skyliner residents.
Residences and businesses in the areas of all of these prescribed burns are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts. If smoke drifts on to local roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Residences and businesses in the area are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts.
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health. Once ignited, units are monitored and patrolled until they are declared out.