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Oregon / Washington

Cline Buttes Hazardous Fuels Project

Piles at Eagle Crest
Piles at Eagle Crest

Over the next several years the BLM will continue implementing vegetation treatments in the Cline Buttes planning area. These objectives are described in the Cline Buttes Recreation Area Management Plan and Environmental Assessment and are consistent with the Upper Deschutes Resource Management Plan. The objectives of the vegetation treatments will be to:

  • Reduce the possibility of high intensity crown fires in wildland urban interface (WUI);
  • Restore old-growth juniper woodlands;
  • Restore shrub-steppe plant communities;
  • Restore heavily disturbed areas; and,
  • Enhance riparian areas and ponderosa pine trees.


Current Activities

Eagle Crest

We completed hand pile and jackpot burning in February 2013. Some final cleanup and seeding will occur over the summer and into the fall, but most of the work is now done.


In March 2013, we thinned and piled 440 acres of juniper trees. We plan to burn these piles this fall, depending on weather. We will continue thinning and piling as our funding allows. We expect to be working in the Maston Trail Use Area for the next 3-5 years.


We will thin and hand pile young juniper on 403 acres in the Tumalo Canal Historic Area (PDF) starting the week of October 6th, 2014. Treatment areas include a strip along the east side of Barr Road, and the southern end of the area between Barr Road and Cline Falls Highway. Burning of hand piles will occur in Fall of 2015. Some pile burning may occur as early as February 2015.


What can I expect during these projects?

  • During the work, you can expect to hear the noise of chainsaws working and you can expect to see extra traffic from contractors working and the downed wood from the thinning project.
  • As work progresses, you can expect to see piles of slash and other debris waiting to cure out
  • You can expect the area to look different. Although we are restoring a lot of the shrub-steppe habitat, the removal of the juniper can be startling.
  • After burning, the area can look black and bare for a while. The good news is that the burned areas will soon fill in with young shrubs and grasses.

Why do you leave piles over the summer?

Slash piles curing out
Slash piles curing out

To burn piles cleanly and effectively, the material needs time to cure. After they cure, we can burn during the fall or winter when conditions are cooler and the ground is frozen or wet. This minimizes damage to soil and keeps the fire from moving beyond the piles. We recognize that the piles aren't attractive and that people have concerns about increased fire risk, but we need to wait for the right time to make sure it's done correctly, and with the least amount of smoke.

What is the fire risk from the piled material?

The greatest fire hazard comes from heavy vegetation that is "connected," by plants touching on the ground and by the height of the vegetation: the taller the vegetation, the higher the expected flame lengths. Prior to thinning, much of the area had shrubs and juniper trees that could help a fire move up from the ground and into the tree tops. Higher flames lengths significantly decrease firefighter safety and limit the ability of firefighters to suppress the fire.

After thinning, fires are more likely to stay on the ground in the shrubs and grass. Even though there is still material left from the thinning project, it has been put into piles that are separated and the material will have less of an effect on fire behavior.

How can I learn more?

Interested parties can monitor this website as it will be updated periodically about planned vegetation management activities within the Cline Buttes Recreation Area. Additional questions can be addressed by contacting Guy Chamness at 1-541-416-6719.

Information regarding firewood permits and availability can be found in the Central Oregon Personal Use Firewood Synopsis (PDF) or contact Steve Castillo at 541-416-6765.

Similar area after burning
Similar area recovery 3 years later
Similar area after burning
Similar area recovery 3 years later