▶️ Fire season prep begins; officials expect ‘above average’ fire activity


It is that time of year again.

Local preparation for the summer fire season has begun with a prescribed burn near Pine Mountain Tuesday afternoon.

“The Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District fuel specialists have started prescribed fire for the season,” Jaimie Olle, Deschutes National Forest public affairs specialist said. “Each day they’re hoping to ignite somewhere between 100 and 400 acres in that area. It’s about off Forest Service Road 18 and 25 in that general area.”

Olle says mid to late March provides the best conditions for prescribed burns, and is when the process typically starts.

“There’s still some moisture in the fuels, but not enough that it won’t burn,” Olle said. “So we’re able to get the fire effects that we want, which is that low intensity fire where we’re just removing the ladder fuels and excess fuels in the area.”

However, it looks like the weak winter experienced in Central Oregon will not do us any favors this summer.

“Our snow water equivalent right now is about 60% of normal in the Central Oregon area,” Olle said. “So we do anticipate an earlier start to fire season than we might normally see as some of those fuels do start to dry out.”

May and June are predicted to have above average fire activity, making the prep being done now that much more important.

“Start to get all of that cleaned up before we get to the hot part of summer,” Dan Derlacki, Bend Fire Department deputy fire marshal said. “This is why you’re seeing a lot of prescribed burns happen out in the forest, you’re seeing a lot of field burning and ditch burning. Everyone’s preparing for wildfire season and also for the summer agricultural season.”

This work is not just up to fire officials, the general public can also do its part.

“Make sure trees aren’t touching your house or touching your roof,” Derlacki said. “Limbing those up, thinning the brush out.”

There will be a debris disposal event on April 30th at Knott Landfill.


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