Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pile burning planned for the National Grassland and Ochocos

 With the onset of recent precipitation across Central Oregon, fire managers on the Crooked River National Grassland and the Ochoco National Forest will begin pile burning this week, and will continue seeking opportunities throughout the fall and into the winter.

Tomorrow, (Friday, October 21) firefighters will ignite 68 acres of hand piles located at the base of Grizzly Mountain along Highway 26 between Madras and Prineville.

The juniper slash is left over from a thinning project and commercial firewood sale along the southern boundary of the Grassland, near Mile Post 16, about 8 miles northwest of Prineville.

Objectives for the burn are simply to remove leftover juniper slash material so land managers can reseed the area with native grasses.

Light smoke will be visible for one day during active ignitions, but is not expected to impact the highway or passing motorists.

Following this burn, managers will seek an opportunity to burn slash piles within the Bailey Butte fire salvage area, near Ochoco Divide, just east of Highway 26.

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.

Fire managers are planning these pile burns in coordination with Crook County Fire and Rescue and in observance of the weather and applicable air quality advisories.

The Forest and Grassland appreciate public tolerance of temporary smoke conditions in support of this work.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pile burning begins on the Deschutes National Forest

Central Oregon–Recent rain and snow accumulations coupled with cool fall temperatures will allow fuels specialists across the Deschutes National Forest to begin burning slash piles. 

Beginning next week, and continuing through the next several weeks and months depending on conditions, specialists will begin burning a variety of units across the forest starting in the southern end of the forest on the Crescent Ranger District.

Piles may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition.  While smoke may linger in the area, there is a real benefit to burning this type of vegetation.  The piles are concentrations of leftover materials associated with previous vegetation management activities intended to remove hazardous fuels that can burn during summer wildfires. 

No closures are anticipated with these operations.  However, if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.  Once ignited, units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.

Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.

For more information, visit the Deschutes website at and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Upper Beaver prescribed burn planned for Ochocos this week

PRINEVILLE, Ore.— Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest will take advantage of recent moisture to start working on the Upper Beaver prescribed burn tomorrow on the Paulina Ranger District.

The Upper Beaver burn unit totals about 3,800 acres, located 13 miles north of Paulina in the Tamarack Butte area. Ignitions are expected to last 5 to 7 days.

Plans call for hand lining a northern boundary along Forest Road 300, just south of Black Canyon Wilderness near Wolf Mountain Lookout and the South Prong trailhead. Once the hand lines are complete, firefighters will look for opportunities to ignite portions of the unit using either hand or aerial ignitions.

Objectives for the burn are to improve the natural resources within the unit by reducing hazardous fuels and improving big game habitat while restoring fire to a fire-adapted ponderosa pine ecosystem.

Smoke will be visible during periods of active burning, and could impact adjacent forest roads, or Mud Springs and Frazier campgrounds, and the nearby community of Paulina. The timing of the burn will fall between deer and elk hunting seasons in order to impact hunters as little as possible.

Visit our “Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon” map online to see an exact location of the proposed 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

For media inquiries, contact Patrick Lair at (541) 416-6647 or

Friday, October 7, 2016

Industrial Fire Precaution Levels Drop to 1

Fire Danger Level is Lowered to ‘Moderate’

BEND– Fire officials have seen an overall cooling trend in Central Oregon with reduced fire activity in addition to localized precipitation, have lowered the Industrial Fire Precaution Level has dropped down to 1.

The Prineville District Bureau of Land Management, the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and the Crooked River National Grassland are have also lowered the Fire Danger level to MODERATE.

The Industrial Fire Precaution Level (IFPL), which regulates permitted and commercial activities on federal lands, has dropped to a Level I. Under this level, commercial and personal woodcutting is allowed at any time of day, although firewood cutters are still encouraged to be mindful and prepared for any unintentional ignitions from equipment.

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.

Fire Officials want to remind people recreating on public lands to continue to use caution because while the weather has moderated, 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.


Monday, October 3, 2016

East Maurys Closure Area Reduced

The East Maury Fire Closure Area has been reduced to allow the public access to more National Forest System lands.

As fire containment grows and the potential for fire spread is reduced, forest managers have decided to reduce the closure area to the immediate vicinity of the fire.

The only campground within the closure area is Elkhorn campground.

View the updated Closure Order and Map online:

The East Maury fire is now mapped at 1,561 acres and 38 percent containment, with about 90 acres on private land.

Around 127 personnel remain assigned to the incident, including a Type 1 and a Type 2 hand crew, 14 engines, 3 dozers, and 4 water tenders.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

East Maury Mountains fire update - Saturday, October 1

Firefighters worked through the night last night to complete burnout operations and strengthen containment lines around a wildfire near Elkhorn campground in the Maury Mountains.
Crews have surrounded the entire fire with dozer and hand line and will continue burnout operations today in order to prevent further spread of a fire that moved from National Forest land onto nearby private property Thursday afternoon.
The fire size is currently estimated at 1,700 acres and 25 percent containment, with roughly 200 acres located on adjacent ranch land.
The firefighting response has been a cooperative effort between the US Forest Service, BLM, Oregon Department of Forestry, the Post-Paulina Rangeland Protection Association and the private land owners. Numerous crews, engines, and dozers remain on scene in addition to aerial support.
The fire began as a prescribed burn conducted to improve range and forest health within a 333-acre unit on the Ochoco National Forest. An unexpected wind event associated with storm movement from the south created an unforeseen wind reversal Thursday afternoon, pushing fire north across planned containment lines and creating a wildfire.
The Ochoco National Forest has issued a temporary area closure to prevent hunters and other visitors from entering the fire suppression area.