Fire managers now burning juniper
Central Oregon residents may see light smoke periodically in the coming weeks south of Madras as fire managers on the Crooked River National Grassland resume juniper jackpot burning near U.S. Highway 26.
From now through the end of April, as weather conditions allow, firefighters will look for opportunities to burn portions of a 2,400-acre block of downed junipers in the Ramms Road area, about 9 miles southeast of Madras near the Rimrock Springs Wildlife Management Area.
Firefighters will be burning individual piles of downed juniper trees left over from a large thinning project in the Willow Creek watershed. The project removed thousands of junipers to restore range conditions and water availability.
The area has been open to personal firewood collection for the last two seasons. Burning the remaining piles will improve critical winter range for big game and provide better summer grazing conditions while reducing hazardous fuel loading to lower the risk of large-scale wildfire across the landscape.
Light smoke will be visible from the highway but is not expected to impact motorists.
Fuels specialists follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including jackpot burning) and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.
For more information, visit www.centraloregonfire.org or follow the Central Oregon fire program on Twitter @CentralORFire.