Central Oregon – Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest plan to burn downed juniper on approximately 120 acres near Black Canyon Wilderness on the Paulina Ranger District this morning, if weather and conditions allow. The burning will take place in the Upper Beaver project area, about 15 miles northeast of Paulina, Ore. in the vicinity of Rager Ranger Station near Bronco Reservoir.
This type of prescribed fire, known as “jackpot burning,” addresses high concentrations of naturally-occurring or thinning-related downed woody debris. Burning these units will improve critical winter range for big game and provide better connectivity of sage grouse habitat while reducing hazardous fuel loading to lower the risk of large-scale wildfire across the landscape.
The project is partially funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Burning is scheduled to begin about 10 a.m. today, and work should be completed by the end of the day. Smoke will be visible today and tomorrow from Forest Road 58 and Highway 380 near Paulina, but no delays or impacts to travel are expected; however, if smoke drifts onto roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care. Jackpots may smolder, burn, and produce smoke for several days after ignition. 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 jackpot burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.