BEND, Ore. — Expect to see significant smoke plumes in the air southeast of Bend early next week. Forest Service fire managers, in cooperation with the Bend and Sunriver Fire Departments and the Prineville BLM helitack crew, have two large controlled burn projects scheduled. Both of these projects will be accomplished utilizing aerial ignition with support from ground crews. The helicopter is being provided by Henderson Aviation out of Eugene and will be based out of Coyote Butte for the duration of the project. Coyote Butte will be closed to forest visitors during helicopter operations but is expected to reopen early in the afternoon.
“We understand the impacts from smoke can create some challenges for residents in the short-term. However, accomplishing the fuels reduction work now helps us better defend potentially threatened homes during wildfire season,” said Central Oregon Fire Management Services Staff Chris Hoff.
The first controlled burn, identified as “Fuzzy #7”, is 453 acres in size and will be four miles SE of Bend along Forest Road 1814. More specifically, the burn will be one mile north of Kelsey Butte and approximately three miles S of Sundance Subdivision.
The second controlled burn, identified as “Fuzzy #20”, is 443 acres in size and will be seven miles SE of Bend along Forest Road 1820. More specifically, the burn will be one mile east of Lava Top Butte and approximately six miles S of Sundance Subdivision.
Portions of the Swamp Wells Trail System (Trail # 61 & 63) that are located within the burn units will be closed during burning operations.
Care will be taken to light the controlled burns under favorable wind conditions and higher humidities. Smoke may settle in the evening hours as a result of the burns, so homeowners may choose to keep doors and windows closed to minimize potential impacts from the smoke. All controlled burns are weather-dependent and completed in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan and consultation with the National Weather Service.