BEND, OR -- While conditions may be just right for controlled burns, this week, many Central Oregonians don’t find the smoke all that "favorable." Jean Nelson Dean, with the Deschutes National Forest, says while hazy skies are an inconvenience, the burns are necessary. "I think all of us who do this work, we certainly understand that it isn’t pleasant – especially for those people with certain conditions – asthma and some breathing conditions. We do have a map where people can see where our prescribed burns in the hope that people will know the situation at the time. We always encourage people, close your windows at night, especially when we’re having burns really close to town."
She tells KBND News they carefully watch weather conditions to make sure winds will carry smoke away from populated areas during burns. "We are constantly monitoring throughout a burn. The reality is, we’re going to have smoke; if we’re going to live in a fire-adapted ecosystem, there’s going to be smoke. It’s just a matter of how much smoke there is." And, Nelson Dean says despite those best efforts, hazy skies are often unavoidable. "Prime time is to burn in Spring, because that’s when we have the fuel conditions that we want to burn- winds and all of those things. We can’t burn in the summer and we can’t burn in the winter. In spring, we also have those conditions, you’re cooling the air in the evening and bringing that smoke back down. There’s not a really a perfect, perfect scenario when there’s no smoke."