Friday, September 23, 2016

Two prescribed burns planned for the Ochocos next week

PRINEVILLE, Ore.— Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest plan to take advantage of recent precipitation to ignite two prescribed burns next week.

Recent moisture coupled with cooler temperatures has created an opportunity to achieve a beneficial, low intensity burn within two planned burn units.

The Rush Springs burn unit is approximately 320 acres, located about 15 miles northeast of Prineville and three miles north of Ochoco Ranger Station near Forest Service Road 2620. This burn is planned to begin Monday morning and last two days.

The East Maury burn unit is approximately 333 acres, located near Elkhorn campground along Forest Service Road 16 in the Maury Mountains, about three miles south of the Post-Paulina Highway. The East Maury burn is planned to start Wednesday and last two days.

To see exact locations of the proposed burn units, visit our “Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon” map online: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ochoco/home/?cid=stelprd3812842

Prescribed burning is part of a Forest Service program to remove hazardous fuels in order to reduce the potential for high-intensity uncharacteristic fire, while restoring low intensity fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and improving range and forest health.

Prescribed burning is a proactive approach to fire management, reintroducing fire in a planned, low intensity manner that benefits the resources, instead of waiting for an unplanned ignition, such as lightning, to start a wildfire that requires an expensive suppression response and can burn with destructive intensity.

The objectives for both the Rush Springs and East Maury burns include hazardous fuels reduction, improving big game habitat and range conditions for livestock, and reintroducing fire into a fire-adapted ponderosa pine ecosystem.

Light smoke is expected in the vicinity of each burn during periods of active ignitions, but no obstructions to road traffic are anticipated.


For more information on prescribed burning plans, or to be added to a burning notification list, contact Assistant Fire Management Officer Sam Pearcy at (541) 416-6428 or spearcy@fs.fed.us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Public Use Restrictions and Industrial Fire Precaution Levels set to change on public lands in Central Oregon


Central Ore. – With consistently cooler nights, reduced fire activity around the Pacific Northwest, and a fewer human-caused wildfires recently, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland are lifting campfire and smoking restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. September 23, 2016 (Friday) on federal lands in Central Oregon.

For the reduction in Public Use Restrictions, open fires, including charcoal fires, will be allowed. Private lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry remain under a Regulated Closure at this time. Be aware that some federal sites still have campfire restrictions such as Hosmer Lake, and that the seasonal restrictions on BLM-administered lands in the following areas remain in effect:

Until September 30, 2016:
On public lands within 1/4 mile of the river’s edge in the following locations:
  • Mainstem John Day River from Tumwater Falls (River Mile 10) upstream to Kimberly (River Mile 185);
  • North Fork John Day River, from the confluence with the mainstem at Kimberly (River Mile 0) upstream to the Umatilla National Forest boundary (River Mile 62);
  • South Fork John Day River from Smokey Creek (River Mile 6) upstream to Malheur National Forest boundary (River Mile 47).
 Until October 15, 2016:
  •  Crooked River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge along the Lower Crooked River from the Highway 97 Bridge to Lake Billy Chinook.
  • Deschutes River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge from the Highway 20 bridge to Lake Billy Chinook; including all BLM-administered lands north of the Jefferson county line and between the Deschutes River and
  • Crooked River. Within ½ mile of Lake Simtustus (between Round Butte Dam and Pelton Dam)
  • Within the Lower Deschutes National Wild and Scenic River corridor (Pelton Dam to the Columbia River)
  •   Lake Billy Chinook - Those public lands located within ½ mile of Lake Billy Chinook; including BLM Beach dispersed recreation site located approximately ½ mile east of the Three Rivers Recreation Area on the south shore of the Metolius River Arm of the lake.
  • White River - Within ½ mile of the river’s edge from its confluence with the Deschutes River upstream to the eastern boundary of the Mount Hood National Forest.

At the same time, the Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), which regulates permitted and commercial activities on federal lands, will drop to a Level II (called a Partial Hootowl). Under this level, commercial and personal woodcutting, welding, cable yarding and blasting is allowed, where authorized, between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. with a minimum of a one-hour fire watch following activity.

Officials want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks continue to be prohibited on all federal lands.

Officials carefully consider the current fire situation, fuel moisture and predicted weather before making the decision to lift fire restrictions. Fire Officials want to remind people recreating on public lands to continue to use caution even though fall is approaching and temperatures are cooling down; wildfires are still possible. All campfires, including warming fires used by hunters, should be cold to the touch when not being watched. Every fire that’s prevented protects our communities and helps our firefighters remain available, rested, and safe.



-End-

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Prescribed burning planned for the Ochocos this fall


PRINEVILLE, Ore.— Fuel conditions on the Ochoco National Forest are currently very dry, but as temperatures moderate and more precipitation arrives this fall, fire managers will look for opportunities to complete two large prescribed burns and several smaller ones to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health.

Any decision to move forward with prescribed burn plans will depend on appropriate weather conditions and fuel moisture, as well as adequate staffing and public notifications.

The two largest burns planned combine for a total of 5,000 acres and could be implemented simultaneously if conditions allow. The Ochoco National Forest wishes to make public notice of these potential burns now, so that hunters and other visitors have advanced notice of the locations and potential timing of these planned events.

The Upper Beaver burn unit totals about 3,800 acres, located 13 miles north of Paulina in the Tamarack Butte area.

The Spears burn unit totals about 1,200 acres, located 15 miles northeast of Prineville in the White Fir Springs area.

“Fall treatment of 5,000 acres is a significant prescribed fire project for us,” said Stacey Forson, Forest Supervisor for the Ochoco National Forest. “Periodic fire in these ecosystems reduces hazardous fuel build-up and greatly minimizes the risk of extreme fires in the future.”

Visit our “Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon” map online to see exact locations of the proposed burn units: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ochoco/home/?cid=stelprd3812842

All access roads to the burn units have already been signed, and employees will make a sweep of the areas should conditions provide the Forest with the ability to move forward with any of the burns. Another public notice will be sent out once a proposed date is identified.

Plans call for blacklining the Spears and Upper Beaver units with hand ignitions, and then the application of aerial ignition devices delivered from a helicopter to help consume interior fuels. Ignitions are expected to last three days.

Smoke will be visible during ignitions and is expected to linger for several days. Road signs and flaggers will be used along adjacent forest roads. Smoke will be most visible along Highway 26 and Forest Roads 3350 and 500 during the Spears burn, and from Paulina and along Forest Road 58 during the Upper Beaver burn.

Prescribed burning is part of a Forest Service program to remove hazardous fuels in order to reduce the potential for high-intensity uncharacteristic fire, while restoring low intensity fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and improving range and forest health.

Prescribed burning is a proactive approach to fire management, reintroducing fire in a planned, low intensity manner that benefits the resources, instead of waiting for an unplanned ignition, such as lightning, to start a wildfire that requires an expensive suppression response and can burn with destructive intensity.

The Forest Service appreciates public tolerance of increased smoke and vehicle traffic in support of these restoration goals.


For more information on prescribed burning plans, or to be added to a burning notification list, contact Assistant Fire Management Officer Sam Pearcy at (541) 416-6428 or spearcy@fs.fed.us

Spears burn unit


Upper Beaver burn unit


Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 27 wildfire morning update

Working through the evening yesterday, firefighters kept the Willow Fire from crossing Willow Creek and halted the fire's spread with an effort that included helicopters, air tankers, engines, and hand crews.

The fire size is now estimated at about 150 acres with 30 percent containment.

Crews will continue to suppress the fire today using three helicopters, a hotshot crew, multiple engines and other resources. Full containment is expected by tomorrow night.

The Willow Fire, located about 8 miles northwest of Madras (2 miles northeast of Pelton Dam), was reported yesterday at 1:30 pm. The emergency response includes Jefferson County and federal resources, using both structural and wildland firefighters.

The fire is deemed to be human-caused but remains under investigation.

The Lower Valley Fire, located about 8 miles west of Terrebonne off Lower Bridge Road, has been reassessed at about 50 acres. An updated containment estimate was unavailable this morning.

Firefighters worked through the night to strengthen containment lines and will continue working the fire this morning with a suppression effort that includes multiple engines, hand crews and aircraft.

The fire's cause remains under investigation.

REMINDER: Central Oregon remains in extreme fire danger and all public lands are under some level of public use restrictions.

For information about fire restrictions on federally-managed lands in Central Oregon, visit: http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com/2016/08/fire-restrictions-begin-in-central.html

For information about fire restrictions on state-protected lands in Central Oregon, visit: http://odfcentraloregon.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 26, 2016

Central Oregon Fire Update

Wildland and structural firefighters combined forces twice today to tackle two new wildfires in Central Oregon.

The Lower Valley fire was reported at noon today, burning about 8 miles west of Terrebonne off Lower Bridge Road, apparently started as a result of a fire that started on a hay truck. Numerous engines responded from the Forest Service and BLM, along with a structural task force made up of engines from Crook County, Sisters, Cloverdale and Redmond. Helicopters, heavy air tankers and single engine air tankers helped knock the fire down. As of this evening, the crews had stopped the forward progress of the fire and were beginning to put a hoselay around the perimeter and mop up. The fire reached about 75 acres.


The Willow Fire, burning about 8 miles northwest of Madras (2 milles NE of Pelton Dam), was reported at 1:30. As of this evening, the fire had grown to 70 acres. Crews initially focused on the east side of the fire, with structural and wildland crews working together to keep the fire from moving toward homes. Crews this evening are now working on the west side of the fire, which remains active on about 20 percent of the line. Cool temperatures this evening and rising relative humidity will help decrease fire behavior and help firefighters’ efforts. The cause of this fire is human-caused, with the specific cause under investigation. 


Central Oregon is under a Red Flag Warning tomorrow for gusty winds and low relative humidity. Fires that ignite under windy conditions can grow very quickly. Fire officials want to remind everyone that public use restrictions are now in place in Central Oregon and that campfires are limited to a short list of developed campgrounds. For a copy of that list, visit http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/fire/alerts.php

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

FIRE RESTRICTIONS BEGIN IN CENTRAL OREGON THIS WEEK


 Central Oregon – With hot and dry conditions expected to continue, increasing numbers of wildfires around the northwest, and fire suppression resources already responding to a high number of human-caused wildfires around Central Oregon, the Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes National Forest and the Ochoco National Forest, including the Crooked River National Grassland, are implementing campfire restrictions. 

Effective 12:01 a.m. August 26, 2016 (Friday), open fires, including charcoal fires and portable campfires, will be prohibited, except in the following designated campgrounds: 

Crescent Ranger District: Contorta Flat, Contorta Point, Crescent Lake, Simax Group, Spring, Sunset Cove, Trapper Creek, Whitefish Horse Camp, Windy Group Site, Industrial Mushroom Camp (Little Odell Butte).

Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District: Crane Prairie, Cultus Lake, Elk Lake, Fall River, Fall River Guard Station, Gull Point, Lava Lake, Little Cultus Lake, Little Fawn, Little Fawn Group, Little Lava Lake, Mallard Marsh, North Twin, Point, Quinn Meadow Horse Camp, Quinn River, Rock Creek, Sheep Bridge, South, South Twin, West South Twin, Big River Group, Bull Bend, Wyeth, Cinder Hill, East Lake, Little Crater, Newberry Group, Ogden Group, Paulina Lake, Prairie.

Sisters Ranger District: Allen Springs, Allingham, Blue Bay, Camp Sherman, Candle Creek, Cold Spring, Driftwood, Gorge, Graham Corral, Indian Ford, Jack Creek, Link Creek, Lower Bridge, Lower Canyon Creek, Perry South, Pine Rest, Pioneer Ford, Riverside, Scout Lake, Sheep Spring, Smiling River, South Shore, Three Creek Lake, Three Creek Meadow, Three Creek Horse Camp, Whispering Pine.

Paulina Ranger District: Sugar Creek, Wolf Creek.

Lookout Mtn. Ranger District: Antelope Flat Reservoir, Deep Creek, Ochoco Divide, Ochoco Forest, Walton Lake and Wildcat. 

Crooked River National Grassland: Skull Hollow and Haystack Reservoir.

Prineville BLM: Big Bend, Castle Rock, Still Water, Lone Pine, Palisades, Chimney Rock, Cobble Rock, Post Pile, and Poison Butte.  
These restrictions do not apply to Wilderness areas on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Prineville BLM.

In addition to campfire restrictions, smoking is restricted to an enclosed vehicle or building, in a designated campground, in boats on lakes and rivers, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable material. Portable cooking stoves or lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel may be used in all areas. 

Officials want to remind the public that using explosive target material, such as Tannerite, explosives, and fireworks continue to be prohibited on all federal lands. 

The Prineville BLM, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland have already moved to an Industrial Fire Precaution Level III (IFPL). The IFPL applies to permitted and industrial operations, including woodcutting, on federal lands. 

IFPL III is considered a “partial shutdown” and restricts the use of chainsaws to loading sites on tractor/skidder operations to between the hours of 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. Only cable yarding systems that use non-motorized systems are allowed. Industrial welding and mechanized loading operations are also restricted to the hours of 8 p.m. to 1 p.m. Industrial and permitted operations may request a waiver from the Forest Service or BLM depending on land ownership at the activity location. It is the responsibility of all operators to know and follow the requirements of the current fire precaution level.

More information about both IFPL and Public Use Restrictions can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/centraloregon/home/?cid=fsbdev3_035880


Public use restrictions help protect the land, resources, and visitors. Officials carefully consider the current fire situation, fuel moisture and predicted weather before making the decision to implement fire restrictions. Every year lightning-caused fires place a heavy demand on our firefighting resources, and put our wildlands, our firefighters, and our communities at risk. Fires caused through carelessness or negligence only increase the threat to life and livelihood, and place an even greater burden on already busy firefighters.  Every fire that’s prevented protects our communities and helps our firefighters remain available, rested, and safe. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sheridan Fire and Pine Mountain Fire now Contained!

Firecrews on the Sheridan Fire burning near Sunriver and the Pine Mountain Fire east of Bend are reporting 100 percent containment on both fires today. The acreage for both fires remains the same.

Containment doesn't mean "out" so you can expect to see engines and firefighters still working in the area, along with smoke in the interior of the fire from some of the logs or brush that may still be smoldering. It's also not unusual for an occasional pocket of unburned fuel inside the fireline to burn and put up smoke.

Some of the firefighters left the Sheridan Fire and headed to fires in Washington and eastern Oregon; others will head home, rest and be ready to go out to the next new start.