With cooler and wetter weather moving into Central Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management is planning some prescribed and broadcast burns for fall and winter. They could begin as early as Monday, depending on conditions, and last for several months.
In all, the Prineville District is hoping to accomplish up to 3,565 acres of pile and broadcast burning in the following areas:
- Clarno/Mitchell Agriculture Fields Project: 240 acres of broadcast burning west of Clarno and near the Priest Hole Recreation Site area
- High Desert Shrub Steppe Project: 1,919 acres of juniper slash piles near the Brothers, Hampton, and Paulina areas
- Outback Project: 376 acres of machine piles south of La Pine
- Steelhead Falls Project: 627 acres of hand piles in the Crooked River Ranch area
- Cline Butte Project: 403 acres of hand piles west of Tumalo and north of Highway 20
Here are more details from BLM:
Prescribed burning reduces hazardous fuels which can burn during wildfires. Broadcast burning reintroduces and maintains fire within fire-dependent ecosystems. Juniper removal in the High Desert Shrub Steppe Project also has the added benefit of improving Greater Sage-grouse habitat.
The piles are concentrations of leftover materials from previous thinning projects. Where possible, material was first offered for firewood, commercial sale, or biomass use. Some material was also scattered to rehabilitate sites and close user-created routes.
Each project can take several days or several weeks to complete, depending on the size. Crews will move between each project area based on site-specific weather. Main roads within the project areas will be signed to inform residents and the public of planned prescribed fire activity. No road closures or delays are expected.
All prescribed burning is highly dependent on favorable temperature, moisture, and wind conditions. Each of these prescribed burns will only be implemented if the conditions are right to meet the objectives of the burn. All prescribed burn areas will be patrolled during and following ignitions.
Prescribed burns are completed in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan. Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. Efforts will be made to minimize smoke impacts to nearby communities.
What does this mean for you?
During prescribed burns, smoke may settle in low-lying areas overnight.
· All residents are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid smoke impacts
· When driving in smoky areas, drivers should slow down and turn on headlights
· If you have heart or lung disease, asthma, or other chronic conditions, ask your doctor about how to protect yourself from smoke
· Go to centraloregonfire.org to learn more about smoke safety and prescribed burning in Central Oregon
For more information on prescribed burning in Central Oregon, visit centraloregonfire.org/ and for information specific to the Prineville District BLM, call (541) 416-6700. Follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.