Ochoco National Forest Begins Pile Burning

Prineville, Ore. – With colder temperatures and precipitation in the forecast, firefighters will begin pile burning on the Ochoco National Forest and Crooked River National Grassland.

Crews will start tomorrow with piles near Ochoco Divide just west of Mark’s Creek Subdivision and Highway 26. The piles are expected to take two days to complete with crews focusing on smaller units to limit the smoke in the nearby subdivision. To limit smoke impacts, residents are encouraged to keep windows closed through the evening hours.

When ignitions are complete, firefighters will mop-up and patrol piles for several weeks.  No closures are anticipated with pile burning.  However, if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.

The public’s health is important to the Forest Service. While significant preventive measures are taken, many factors influence a person’s susceptibility to smoke, including severity and duration of smoke exposure and a person’s health. If individuals feel impacted by smoke, they should avoid outdoor physical exertion and remain indoors. If people experience serious health impacts from the smoke, they should contact their doctor. For more information about smoke and health, visit the Oregon Health Authority recommendations through this link: http://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/Preparedness/Prepare/Pages/PrepareForWildfire.aspx#health

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

Keep up with prescribed burns in Central Oregon by visiting: http://www.centraloregonfire.org

For more information, visit the Ochoco website at www.fs.usda.gov/ochoco and follow us on twitter @CentralORFire.