Forest Service announces fall prescribed burning plans

The Barlow Ranger and Hood River Districts of the Mt. Hood National Forest will be conducting fall prescribed burns and pile burning beginning next week.

Pile burning will take place in various locations on both districts. Pile burning may affect the following roads and general areas:

The 17 road, including 1710, 1711, 1720, 1721; the 43 road; the 44 road, including 4430, 4440, and 4450; the 48 road (the Rock Creek area).

The planned Underburn locations are: East Five Mile, 290 acres (north of the 4440 road at the forest boundary); Shamrock I, 180 acres (north of the 44 road, between 4430 and 4440); Star 3, 103 acres (north of Camp Baldwin off the 4440 road).

Residents living on the east side of Mt. Hood can expect to see smoke in the air for a few days following ignition. Underburning could begin as early as next week if conditions are appropriate while pile burning generally takes place after a wetting rain. Operations could take place anytime during the next month or so depending on conditions.

These burns are planned to help minimize the potential risk of high intensity wildfire in the affected areas by removing hazardous fuels.

Impacted roads will have personnel working in the vicinity, so we ask the public to be cautious while driving in the areas listed above if smoke is present.

For smoke and fire updates, follow the Mt. Hood National Forest on Twitter, @MtHoodNF or Facebook at the Forest Service – Mt. Hood NF. You can also call Kim Valentine, Mt. Hood National Forest East Side Zone Fire Management Officer at (541) 467-5157.

Prescribed Fires Planned for East End of the Columbia River Gorge

Fire managers at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area are also taking advantage of the cooler weather to start fall prescribed fires. They will occur in the Seven Mile (Rowena) area in Oregon and Catherine Creek area in Washington over the next month as weather permits. This is an ongoing effort to reduce the potential of catastrophic wildfires and improve forest health.

Prescribed fires and other mechanical fuels treatment conducted in the Rowena drainage over the past couple of years made a significant difference in battling this summer’s Rowena Fire. When the fire reached these treated areas fire intensity moderated which allowed firefighters to safely build fireline directly adjacent to the fire and stop the forward progression. Negative effects from the wildfire were also noticeably less. According to the burn severity analysis conducted after the Rowena fire, treated areas had less damaging effects than similar untreated areas.

Smoke will be visible generally in the Courtney Road to the Major Creek area in Washington and the Rowena Creek drainage in Oregon. Motorists should use caution and reduce speeds if smoke drifts across Washington State Route 14, Interstate 84, Historic Columbia River Highway and other local roads.

The actual day of ignition for these prescribed burn projects will depend on several factors including appropriate temperature, fuel moisture, wind speed and direction. Prescribe fires will only occur on days when the Smoke Management Offices indicate suitable weather conditions for smoke dispersal are present. Fire managers will only conduct the prescribed fires when all conditions allow for both fire personnel and public safety and successfully meeting resource management objectives.

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