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BEND, OR -- The Forest Service conducted a number of controlled burns Wednesday, some of which are expected to continue Thursday. Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says with nice weather comes more smoke in the air. "We really do the majority of our prescribed burning in the spring when we have some moisture in the soils and the vegetation, but it’s warming up enough that the fire can carry. So, people are going to start seeing a lot more prescribed burning in the area."


Fuels specialists plan to conduct a burn three miles west of Sisters near the Tollgate community, on Thursday. She says many projects, like near Hole In the Ground southeast of La Pine, have been in the works for a while, some for years. "Prescribed burning is kind of the final part of the process. First we do some thinning, then we do some mowing – or, what’s called ‘mastication’ – and then prescribed burning is the final part of getting rid of those fine fuels and making sure that an area will at least slow down or not carry fire if there was a wildfire."  However, she admits despite all the planning, outside factors can change things. "Projects have been significantly analyzed and plans have been laid out, and so we have kind of a whole group of those. Depending on the weather conditions in different areas, when we can make sure the smoke is going to go up and out of the area, is when we make those decisions."


A map of current and prospective burns on the Forest Service website shows dozens of projects in the works for this season. Click HERE to access the interactive prescribed burn map. Nelson Dean asks those in rural areas to check their site before calling 911 for smoke in the area.
To hear more of our conversation with Jean Nelson Dean, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page

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