Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall Prescribed Burning to Begin This Week Across the Deschutes National Forest

Fall Prescribed Burning to Begin This Week Across the Deschutes National Forest
Ignitions planned South and West of Bend and outside of Sisters

CENTRAL OREGON – Starting as early as Thursday, fuels specialists on the Deschutes National Forest intend to ignite several prescribed burns across the forest beginning east of Highway 97, 1 mile west of Horse Butte along the south side of Bend, and 3 miles west of Sisters, adjacent to Black Butte Ranch. If conditions remain favorable fuels specialists will continue burning a unit 3 miles northwest of Wickiup Reservoir on either Friday or Saturday and will move west of Bend at the beginning of next week with two additional prescribed burns.

The prescribed burns scheduled for Thursday include an 80-acre unit south of Bend is located within the congressionally designated Deschutes Skyline Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration boundary which receives funding towards accelerated forest restoration and a 51 acre prescribed burn outside of Sisters that is part of the Glaze Meadow Forest Restoration Project. The project objectives for the burn south of Bend include reducing hazardous fuels and creating defensible space within the wildland urban interface. The burn objectives for the Glaze Meadow unit outside of Sisters include improving and invigorating aspen growing conditions to address the declining health of aspen habitats.

On Friday or Saturday, fuels specialists are planning to burn a 281 acre unit 3 miles northwest of Wickiup Reservoir. There is a possibility of continuing to burn in the South Bend area west of Horse Butte if conditions remain favorable.

Finally, additional prescribed burns are scheduled west of Bend beginning on Monday. The first is COD 9, a 78 acre unit within the West Bend Project area about 3 miles southwest of Bend, across from Widgi Creek Golf Course. Next up could be “Wet Unit 3,” an 85 acre unit south of Skyliner’s road on the east side of the Skyliner subdivision.

All prescribed burns have been scheduled to take advantage of the cooler and more humid fall season, which minimizes the detrimental impacts of a summer wildfire by consuming surface fuels and reducing shrub and small tree densities. These prescribed fire projects are being conducted to reduce the threat of large scale wildfire to the community of Bend.

No road closures are anticipated with any of the projects although drivers can expect road flaggers on Skyliner’s Road during periods of time where dense smoke may limit visibility. Smoke from the South Bend unit will likely impact Woodside Ranch residences, particularly those located along Ridgeview Drive.  Smoke from the West Bend COD burn could impact the Highlands subdivision and the golf course in Tetherow as well as Widgi Creek, Entrada, and Inn of the 7th Mountain, which are also nearby. Smoke from the Wet Unit 3 burn will impact Skyliner residents.

Residences and businesses in the areas of all of these prescribed burns are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts.  If smoke drifts on to local roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.  Residences and businesses in the area are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts. 

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 and follow us on Twitter @CentralORFire.  

Two recent fires are a reminder of fire danger

As hunting season gets underway, fire managers want to remind everyone that fire danger is still a concern in Central Oregon, even though campfires are allowed in most places on federal public lands.

On Friday afternoon, firefighters responded to a small, human-caused fire on the Ochoco National Forest. An investigation determined the fire was caused by an exploding Tannerite target.

Yesterday, firefighters responded to another fire on the Ochoco National Forest, determined to have started sometime over the weekend from a campfire that was not properly extinguished.

The campers had since left and it was apparent they had put some water on the fire and mixed in dirt. Covering the fire in dirt allowed the unextinguished embers to smolder and later creep out into nearby duff and pine litter igniting a fire.

“Nighttime temperatures are dropping, but we still haven’t received much precipitation in Central Oregon since early July,” said Fire Prevention Specialist Stacy Lacey. “We’re asking everyone spending time out in the woods this fall to be vigilant with fire. That includes minding your campfire, being careful where you shoot, and following the prohibition on exploding targets.” 

Fire managers want to remind everyone that exploding targets, tracer ammo and incendiary ammo are illegal on public lands in Oregon and Washington. See attached flyer for some simple, easy precautions to take when shooting on public land.

Also, campfires are still prohibited on private and state-administered lands in Central Oregon, so check with the local Rural Fire Protection Districts on current restrictions.

Or stop by the Hunter’s Information Booth today through Friday in front of Ray’s Market, 1535 NE Third Street, in Prineville to get the answers to all of your questions about hunting, camping, campfires, and driving on federal, state, county and private lands across central and eastern Oregon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Prescribed burn planned near Mill Creek this week

Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest plan to conduct the 400-acre Squirrel Ridge prescribed burn near Mill Creek Wilderness later this week, pending favorable weather conditions.

Last week’s wave of precipitation across Central Oregon, combined with cooler daytime temperatures, provides a window of opportunity this week to successfully complete this fuels treatment before another predicted rain event arrives this weekend.

If predicted rain arrives early, fire managers may try to complete this treatment early next week as conditions allow.

Objectives for the Squirrel Ridge prescribed burn include improving upland forage conditions for both livestock and big game animals, and reducing hazardous fuels in accordance with the Crook County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

This prescribed burn will complete a 736-acre fuels treatment project that fire managers began working on in 2013.

Ignitions are expected to last one or two days, with smoke being visible in the area for several days following. Light smoke will be visible from Highway 26 and along Forest Road 33, and other nearby forest roads, during active burn periods.

Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Smoke Management Plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.

The Forest appreciates public tolerance of temporary smoke conditions in support of these restoration goals.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fire restrictions reduced on federal lands in Central Oregon

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – Due to the recent pulse of moisture across Central Oregon,  MOST public use restrictions have been dropped on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, the Prineville BLM District, and the Crooked River National Grassland, effective immediately.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level has been reduced to Level 2 “Partial Hootowl,” meaning chainsaws must still shut down between 1 pm and 8 pm.

On federal lands, the public can once again enjoy campfires in most designated campgrounds and at dispersed camping sites, including in wilderness. All restrictions on smoking, or the use of portable stoves and grills, have been lifted.

On the Prineville BLM District, seasonal campfire restrictions remain in effect along the John Day River until September 30, and along portions of the Crooked and White River and all of the Lower Deschutes until October 15. (See below).

Long-standing restrictions on campfires at Hosmer Lake on Deschutes National Forest also remain in effect, due to the dry cattails and rushes, and the boat-in only access.

Effective today, personal use firewood cutting can resume within the hours designated under IFPL 2.

Recent moisture has reduced the fire danger level to “Moderate,” but fire danger still exists.

Please ensure campfires are attended at all times, and make sure your fire is DEAD OUT before leaving your camp site.

Under IFPL 2, a one-hour fire watch is required following shutdown of the last power-driven equipment for the day.

Read more about IFPL here:

For updated information on fire restrictions, call the fire restriction hotline at Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center:  1-800-523-4737

Officials also want to remind the public that fireworks, explosives and exploding targets are banned on FS and BLM lands in Oregon and Washington.

Campfire bans remain in effect on private and state-administered lands across Central Oregon. Check with your local Rural Fire Protection District for the status of local fire restrictions.

More info on Prineville BLM seasonal restrictions can be found here:

Fire restrictions remain in place until October 15, 2015 on public lands:

Crooked River
Within 1/2 mile of the river's edge along the Lower Crooked River from the Highway 97 bridge to Lake Billy Chinook.

Deschutes River
Within 1/2 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 1/2 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

Lake Billy Chinook
Those public lands located within 1/2 mile of Lake Billy Chinook; including BLM Beach dispersed recreation site located approximately 1/2 mile east of the Three Rivers Recreation Area on the south shore of the Metolius River Arm of the lake.

White River
Within 1/2 mile of the river's edge from its confluence with the Deschutes River upstream to the
eastern boundary of the Mount Hood National Forest.

Fire restrictions remain in place until September 30, 2015 on public lands within 1/4 mile of the river's edge in the following locations:

The mainstem John Day River from Tumwater Falls (River Mile 1 0) upstream to Kimberly (River Mile 185);
The 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);
The South Fork John Day River from Smokey Creek (River Mile 6) upstream to Malheur National Forest boundary (River Mile 47).