With the arrival of favorable weather conditions, fire managers on the Deschutes National Forest will begin igniting prescribed burns and pile burns across our area over the next few weeks. This will include several high-visibility burns around Sisters, Bend, La Pine, and Sunriver, Oregon.
Bend, Sisters & Crescent areas: If conditions are favorable, fire managers on the Deschutes National Forest will conduct several understory burns on Wednesday, May 4th to reduce hazardous fuels accumulation decreasing the risk of high-intensity wildfire in the area.
Sisters Ranger District plans to conduct two prescribed burns totaling 220 acres. The first planned unit is 43 acres and is located one mile south of Sisters along Forest Service Road (FSR) 1605. The second unit slated for ignition is 184 acres and is located six miles southwest of Sisters along FSR 16. While no road or trail closures are anticipated, a suggested detour for the Peterson Ridge Tie Trail will be signed in the area. Flaggers will be used in the event that smoke impacts FSR 16.
Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District firefighters plan to conduct a 555-acre prescribed burn five miles west of Pine Mountain near the junction of FSR 18 and 25. Several OHV trails will be impacted with portions of Trail #25 will be temporarily closed. Signs will be placed in the area to maintain driver and firefighter safety.
Crescent Ranger District plans to conduct a 20-acre prescribed burn approximately seven miles southwest of Crescent, east of Highway 58, and west of Highway 97. Smoke may be visible to residents in the Two Rivers and Cascade Estates neighborhoods. Signs will be posted along Highways 58 and 97 as needed, and flaggers will be available in the event that smoke impacts the roadways.
All prescribed burn units are scheduled to take advantage of spring weather and residual moisture that allows firefighters to maintain low-intensity fire while removing ladder fuels and hazardous fuel loading.
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.
You can find out where to expect prescribed fires in our area by using the interactive map provided by the Central Oregon Fire Info website.
Over the past couple of years, close to 1965 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.
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: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health
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.
Posted: March 28, 2022
Sisters area: If conditions are favorable, Sisters Ranger District firefighters will begin spring prescribed fire operations next week to treat up to 1,100 acres. Prescribed fire units are dispersed throughout three project areas, including adjacent to Highway 20, within the Sisters Area Fuels Reduction (SAFR) area, and in the Metolius Basin.
Posted: March 22, 2022
Fuels specialists on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District plan to conduct prescribed fire operations five miles west of Pine Mountain adjacent to the junction of Forest Service Roads 18 and 25 and near the Road 25 OHV Staging Area. Ignitions are slated to begin Tuesday and continue into Wednesday and Thursday if favorable conditions remain. Depending on conditions, fire management specialists plan to ignite between 100 and 500 acres each of the three days. A handful of OHV trails will be temporarily closed to maintain public and firefighter safety. Closed OHV trails include Trails #12, #40, #42 and #50. Arterial roads in the area will remain open; however, some three-digit roads will be temporarily closed.
Posted: February 8, 2022: Favorable conditions exist for Sisters Ranger District firefighters to conduct a 67-acre understory prescribed burn approximately two and a half miles southeast of Sisters adjacent to Forest Service Road 4606. The prescribed burn is slated for Thursday if favorable conditions persist. Ignitions will begin around 10 a.m. and continue into the middle of the afternoon. The prescribed burn unit borders the Metolius-Windigo-To Rodeo Grounds Connector Trail. Signage will be posted highlighting an alternative route trail users are requested to utilize during, and immediately following burn operations. The reroute will be in place for a few days following ignitions. Smoke will be visible from Highway 20 and the greater Sisters area; however, impacts are expected to be minimal given the small size of the prescribed burn.
Posted: February 8, 2022: If conditions are favorable, fire management specialists on the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District will conduct prescribed fire operations on 13 acres west of Bend along the Cascade Lakes Highway. Ignitions are slated for tomorrow and will be located near the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station. Flames and smoke will be visible to motorists along Cascade Lakes Highway; however, no road or trail closures are anticipated. Drivers along the Cascade Lakes Highway should watch for fire personnel and changing conditions.
Pile burning differs from other forms of prescribed burn because it involves igniting by hand piles of vegetation(also called slash), 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 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.