Heppner Ranger District prepares to implement prescribed burn

PENDLETON, Ore. - Fire management officials on the Heppner Ranger District are preparing to implement a 250-acre prescribed burn as early as Thursday, April 26 near Sunflower Flat, approximately 20 miles south of Heppner.
The activities are anticipated to produce localized smoke impacts for approximately two to three days, after ignitions are complete. The objective of the prescribed burn operation is to reduce hazardous fuel loads by using controlled fire to reduce the amount of dead and down fuels and selectively thin understory trees in dense forested stands. Prescribed burning will also help stimulate fire tolerant plant species, enhance forage and browse, and reduce the risk of large stand-replacing wildfires. 
If conditions are right, the district will continue burning into next week. 
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 spring (or when the snow melts) and occur until the beginning of fire season. For additional information on prescribed burning on the Umatilla National Forest, please visit:
·       Forest Inciweb site: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4703/
·       Blue Mountain Prescribed Fire Council Blog: http://bluemtnprescribedfire.blogspot.com/
·       Forest Facebook page: www.facebook.com/UmatillaNF
For additional information on the Heppner Ranger District’s upcoming burn, please contact Kristen Marshall at 541-676-2130, klmarshall@fs.fed.us.
Additional information on the Umatilla National Forest is available at www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla/ or by visiting any forest office.