Land managers and public health officials have come together to develop two new tools that will provide Central Oregonians with a one-stop shop fire information resource. Central Oregon Fire (www.centraloregonfire.org) offers up to date information on prescribed fire and wildfire locations, smoke impacts, and health resources. Also, you can now sign up for text alerts about prescribed fire by texting “COFIRE” to 888777. Living in a fire-adapted ecosystem means Central Oregonians have a season for wildfire and another for prescribed fire. Residents will start seeing prescribed burns around Central Oregon in preparation for fire season and to create a healthier forest.
Prescribed burning is primarily done in the spring and fall. Whenever fire is used deliberately as a tool to improve the health of the forest and increase community and firefighter safety, it requires careful planning and is conducted under specific conditions of temperature, wind, and humidity. This ensures land managers accomplish the desired ecological outcomes and the fire can be safely controlled, all while reducing the likelihood that heavy amounts of smoke will blow into nearby communities. Prescribed fire, when used strategically and repeatedly across larger areas, helps sustain healthy forest ecosystems, reduces the risk of out-of-control fires, reduces the severity of future wildfires when they do occur, and keeps our communities and firefighters safer.
With the implementation of prescribed burning, some communities in Central Oregon will have short duration smoke events. Many factors influence a person’s sensitivity to smoke, including the severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. Your health and the health of your family are important. There are things you can do to minimize the impacts of smoke on you and your family; such as, limit your exposure, stay hydrated, and close windows during periods of smoke and at night when prescribed burns are planned to prevent smoke from getting inside.