The Umatilla National Forest is preparing to implement early season prescribed burning activities as early as Thursday across portions of the Forest.
Fire management officials on the North Fork John Day Ranger District will begin implementing an early season prescribed burn plan on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, three miles south of Dale along the west side of Highway 395.
The District’s upcoming prescribed burn operations consist of approximately 200 acres of grass within a 600 acre burn unit. The objective of the burn is to reduce the spread of invasive grasses, such as Ventenata and Medusahead, by burning the first germination of grass following the recent snow melt. Implementing these burn operations will help encourage the growth of native vegetation. Smoke from the burn operations will be visible along the highway, but the activities are not anticipated to produce significant or long-lasting smoke.
Frequent, low-intensity fire is essential for healthy forests and reducing the risk of uncharacteristic wildfire caused by excessive fuel buildup. Prescribed burning is an effective tool for removing excessive amounts of brush, shrubs, and trees, while also encouraging the growth of native vegetation. Prescribed burning is also highly dependent on weather conditions, which have to be within a narrow criteria window in order to use prescribed fire. Factors such as wind speed and direction, temperatures, relative humidity, and fuel moistures are all taken into consideration prior to implementing a prescribed burn operation.
Each prescribed burn represents many years of planning and preparation to ensure burn operations meet prescriptive conditions that allow for successful burns that provide multiple benefits to resources. The forest works closely with the Oregon Department of Forestry and Washington Department of Natural Resources in accordance with the State’s Smoke Management Plans to determine when, where, and how much is burned on a daily basis. Potential smoke impacts, looking at volume of smoke, direction of spread, and mixing heights, are determined prior to each burn. All burns will be monitored until a season ending rain or snow occurs.
Early season burning operations typically begin in early spring and occur until the beginning of fire season. As the Forest prepares to implement prescribed burns this spring, updated information on active burns will be posted on the Forest Inciweb site at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4703/ or on our Forest Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UmatillaNF.
Additional information on the Umatilla National Forest is available at www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/ or by visiting any forest office.