Tuesday, December 5, 2023



Forest Service lifts restrictions for the Deschutes and Ochoco NF

Deschutes National Forest, Wikipedia photo

Whew! According to a national forest official in Oregon, we could be out of fire season in several Oregon forests, though some fire restrictions remain in places, reports KBND in Bend.

With the increased chance of rain and cooling temperatures, the fire risk across the High Desert is dramatically lower than it was a week ago. “We’re going to see a lot less fire activity. We might see a couple of escape campfires if people aren’t diligent about putting those out, we might get a grass fire; but, we’re not going to see a large timber fire,” says Kassidy Kern, with the Deschutes National Forest. “So, I would say – equivocating a little bit – but, we’re very likely out of fire season.”

The Forest Service lifted public use restrictions this week for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grassland and Prineville BLM. But, Kern tells KBND News, campfire restrictions remain in some areas, like along the Crooked and Deschutes River and Lake Billy Chinook. “Often we post signs but, just in case someone has torn them down or you blow by them, just know before you go. Make sure you know if you’re allowed to legally have a campfire. But, if you’re disperse camping – I know a lot of folks are hunting, even a lot of our staff is out hunting right now – and, it’s a good time to have a campfire. It’s getting pretty chilly at night and we wanted to be responsive to that.”

With the end of the wildfire season comes fall prescribed burns. An 800-acre unit just north of Little Summit Prairie is planned for the Ochoco National Forest Wednesday, and two burns are scheduled for near Sisters and Camp Sherman Wednesday and Thursday. A 1,400-acre unit is planned for near Hole in the Ground, 22 miles southeast of La Pine, Thursday, as well. Kern says with some areas still extremely dry, fire managers are aware danger remains. “We have to be responsive to the conditions. And, if we don’t get the conditions we need to make the burn do what we need it to do, and actually restore the ecosystem, we don’t want this to turn into a wildfire.” All burns are subject to favorable weather conditions.




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