Ochoco prescribed burn near Hwy 26 planned for this week

PRINEVILLE, Ore. – Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest plan to conduct a 1,200-acre prescribed burn near Spears Meadow this week, along Highway 26 east of Prineville, if weather conditions permit.

This prescribed burn is part of an ongoing series of treatments in the area to restore fire to a fire-adapted forest ecosystem, reduce hazardous fuel loading, and improve range conditions for livestock and big game.

The unit is located west of Highway 26 along Forest Road 3350, about 19 miles east of Prineville.

Ignitions are planned to begin on Tuesday, October 10 and last for two to three days as needed to complete the unit. Smoke is likely to impact nearby Highway 26 during periods of active burning. Sign boards and flaggers will be present along the highway as needed.

At night, due to cold night time temperatures, smoke will pool into low level areas and may come into Prineville. This smoke should be of short duration during the early morning hours until the inversion lifts and clear back out of the valleys.

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.