PRINEVILLE, Ore. – Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest plan to take advantage of favorable weather on Monday to ignite another prescribed burn, the location of which depends on the amount of precipitation that arrives this weekend.
Predictions call for varying amounts of rain in the Ochocos this weekend. If conditions are dry enough on Monday, fire managers will pursue the Spears 1 prescribed burn near Spears Meadow, just west of Highway 26 and east of Rocky Butte along Forest Road 3300500, about 17 miles east of Prineville.
The Spears 1 burn unit is about 1,200 acres and will be accomplished over several days. Smoke is expected to drift north into Mill Creek Valley, but signs will be placed along Highway 26. There are no road closures expected.
An attempted prescribed burn near Spears Meadow earlier this week was too wet to burn with desired intensity and that burn is now in patrol status.
If conditions near Spears Meadow remain too wet to burn on Monday, fire managers will pursue the Upper Beaver prescribed burn unit. That burn unit is approximately 1,000 acres located immediately south of Black Canyon Wilderness and just west of Mud Springs campground.
Firefighters successfully burned this week within the Willow Pine burn units located on the drier eastern side of the National Forest, about five miles south of Frazier campground near Porcupine and Sunflower creeks.
Objectives for both the Spears 1 and Upper Beaver prescribed burns include improvement of wildlife habitat and range conditions, and removing hazardous fuels to reduce the future potential for high-intensity wildfire.
All prescribed burning is proposed, analyzed, and planned ahead of time by the Forest Service as part of restoration and fuels management projects. 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.