PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) — If conditions are favorable, the Prineville District of the Bureau of Land Management plans to begin burning 367 acres of hand piles next week in the Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project area, adjacent to the community of Crooked River Ranch.
It will take several days to complete ignitions, BLM said. Implementation will be dependent on weather conditions and resource availability, so ignitions will be spread out over the next few months. Firefighters will monitor the piles during and after ignition until they are declared out.
The project area will be clearly marked with signage. No road closures or delays are anticipated.
The Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project is an on-going effort that began in 2019 and is designed to reduce wildfire risk in the Wildland Urban Interface.
The previously announced nearby 622-acre thinning operation and pile burning treatments will help to establish defensible space around the community of Crooked River Ranch in the event of future wildfires. The fuels reduction activities will also improve wildlife habitat and help to restore and maintain the shrub steppe and old-growth juniper ecosystem.
The BLM said it is working in close coordination with the Crooked River Ranch Fire Department on this project. Engines and personnel from the fire department will be assisting with ignitions this fall and winter.
The piles may smolder and burn for several days after ignition, producing smoke. Smoke impacts are expected to be minimal; all efforts will be made to limit smoke impacts to surrounding communities. The possibility exists for smoke to settle in low-lying areas overnight. Residents in areas near burn operations are encouraged to close windows at night to avoid possible smoke impacts. When driving in smoky areas, drivers should slow down and turn on headlights.
For more information about the Steelhead Falls Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project, please contact the Prineville BLM at (541) 416-6700. For more information on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Central Oregon, or to learn more about smoke safety, visit centraloregonfire.org/ and follow on Twitter @CentralORFire. Text “COFIRE to 888-777 to receive wildfire and prescribed fire text alerts.
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