As fall weather brings more moisture, shorter days and cooler temperatures, fire and fuel specialists will begin burning slash piles across the Deschutes National Forest.
Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. While smoke may linger in the area, there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation. The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with previous vegetation management activities intended to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during summer wildfires.
Sometimes these piles are located in hard-to-reach areas or the woody debris is unusable for commercial products. Slash piles of vegetation are created during thinning or other types of fuel reduction work, and when ignited, burn hotter and produce less smoke. Prescribed burns are also ignited by hand, but the goal is to burn green vegetation across a broad area. Both pile and prescribed burning are important tools that reduce hazardous fuels and restore forests to healthier conditions!
No closures are anticipated with these operations. However, if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
For more information regarding smoke management policies in our area, visit our friends at the Central Oregon Fire Info: www.centraloregonfire.org
Or, visit the Deschutes National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes.