If conditions remain favorable, Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District fuels specialists plan to implement a series of prescribed burns east of Bend over the next couple of weeks.
Prescribed burns are critical tools used to reduce the potential for large wildfires, remove excess vegetation, and improve overall forest health.
Depending on the weather, fuels specialists may start ignitions as early as today, on Maintenance Rx Units 2A and 2B located six miles northwest of the Fort Rock community and approximately 24 miles southeast of La Pine near Hole in the Ground.
The units combined total 1,057 acres and ignitions could last up to two days.
Smoke will be visible from Fort Rock and Highway 31. Visibility along Highway 31 and National Forest roads in the area may be temporarily degraded.
Residents near Fort Rock and Hole in the Ground may see some smoke impacts.
If conditions continue to remain favorable, fuels specialists may start conducting 1,400-acre prescribed burn five miles west of Pine Mountain and 20 miles southeast of Bend.
This understory burn encompasses Opine Rx Units 3A, 3C, 1B and 1C and may take up to four days to complete ignitions. Prescribed burning will continue as conditions allow. Smoke will be visible from Bend and Redmond and along Highway 20 between Horse Ridge and Pine Mountain. Visibility along Highway 20, National Forest roads and OHV trails in the area may be impacted.
Temporary OHV trail closures may need to be implemented during operations on the Opine Rx Units.
Impacted trails may include OHV trails north of the 25 Staging Area and OHV Trails 12, 13 and 18. Forest staff will sign alternative routes of travel. Hunters, OHV trail users and recreationists traveling in vicinity of both prescribed burns should use caution and adhere to all closures to provide for firefighter and public safety.
Fire management officials work with Oregon Department of Forestry smoke specialists to analyze weather conditions and anticipated smoke dispersion to determine burn dates.
When smoke is present, motorists should reduce speed and turn on headlights. All efforts will be made to limit smoke impacts to area neighborhoods and communities.
The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas due to cool night-time temperatures.
Residents in areas near burn operations are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid possible smoke impacts. Individuals with respiratory conditions can request to be placed on an advanced contact list by calling the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District at (541) 383-5300.
For prescribed fire information, visit https://www.centraloregonfire.org/what-is-prescribed-fire/when-where-prescribed-fire-smoke/ or follow us on Twitter @CentralORfire.