FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2015
Contact: Kassidy Kern, 541-383-5517
Four Prescribed Burns Scheduled This Week Across the Deschutes National Forest
Ignitions planned near Two Rivers North Subdivision, Sunriver and Camp Sherman
CENTRAL OREGON – Beginning tomorrow and continuing through Friday, fuels specialists on the Deschutes National Forest intend to ignite several prescribed burns across the forest beginning in the southern portion of the forest near Two Rivers North Subdivision, and southeast of Bend near No Name Butte, then moving north to Sunriver area and Camp Sherman/Metolius Meadows on Friday.
If conditions remain favorable on Thursday, ignitions totaling 258 acres will be divided between two distinct areas near the intersection of Highways 97 and 58 proximate to the Two Rivers North subdivision. Thirty-three acres are planned to be burned just east of the Two Rivers North subdivision and 225 acres are planned to be burned approximately 1 mile south of the Two Rivers North subdivision. Because these prescribed fires fall within the boundary of the Walker Range Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a specific project objective is to reduce hazardous fuels within the wildland urban interface.
Also on Thursday, fuels specialists are planning to execute a 232 acre burn 35 miles southeast of Bend near No Name Butte. The objective of this burn is to reduce dwarf mistletoe infection in the trees, reduce the potential of high severity wildfires and reintroduce fire as a natural process into the ecosystem. Ignitions for this burn could take up to two days to complete.
On Friday, fuels specialists will be burning three units near Sunriver. The first is a 61 acre section adjacent to and east of Sunriver along County Road 40. The next one totals 40 acres and will take place 1 mile northwest of Sugar Pine Butte along Forest Road 9720. If weather conditions remain favorable, fuels specialists will attempt the final, 12 acre burn ½ mile southeast of the High Desert Museum. If this burn is not completed on Friday, fuels specialists will come back and complete it on Monday if conditions allow. These burns are located within the congressionally designated Deschutes Skyline Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration which receives funding towards accelerated forest restoration and is part of an Oregon State University study evaluating short and long term effects of four silviculture treatments on stand structural development. The objective for these burns is to reduce fuels and restore forest health in areas that were historically maintained by frequent low intensity fire.
Also on Friday, fuels specialists in Sisters will be burning a 186 acre unit approximately 1 ½ miles northwest of Camp Sherman/Metolius between Forest Road 12 and 1420. The objective of this burn is to minimize the risk of high intensity wildfire and reduce hazardous fuels within the wildland urban interface.
No road closures are anticipated with any of the projects although drivers can expect road flaggers on Road 40 into Sunriver during periods of time where dense smoke may limit visibility. Smoke from the operations near the Two Rivers North subdivision could be visible from Highways 58 and 97 as well as County Road 61. Smoke from the burn near No Name Butte will be visible from portions of Hwy 31, LaPine, and Ft Rock. Smoke from the operations near Camp Sherman could be visible to the communities of Camp Sherman and visitors to House on the Metolius. If smoke drifts on to local roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.
Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires, and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health. Once ignited, units are monitored and patrolled until they are declared out.
For more information, visit the Deschutes National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/deschutes and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.