Hazardous Fuels Program
The desired future condition for our Central Oregon forests, grasslands and rangelands is to restore hundreds of thousands of acres to conditions that are healthy, resilient and compatible with wildfire. After more than a century of fire suppression and past land management practices, our forests and rangelands have changed enough that land managers cannot safely allow wildfire to play a natural role. The presence of dense vegetation, heavy accumulations of downed woody debris, and other factors frequently make full fire suppression the only option.
Land managers with the Prineville BLM and the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests are using a combination of mechanical fuels treatments and prescribed burning to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, to improve the safety of people living or recreating on or near public lands, the safety of firefighters responding to wildfires and homes and property. These actions are also helping restore ecosystem health throughout the region.
Mechanical tools that can be used as an intermediate step to reduce the risk of future high intensity wildfires include thinning, mowing and masticating.
Prescribed fire can be used to reduce hazardous fuels around subdivisions, as well as protect and improve the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat. Prescribed fire can:
- Reduce hazard fuels, which lessen wildfire intensity making them easier to control and reduce suppression costs.
- Maintain and improve forest and range health by recycling nutrients, decreasing competition for water and sunlight and increasing resistance to bugs and disease.
- Improve wildlife habitat by increasing food supplies such as native grasses, forbs and shrubs.
For general maps of the annual prescribed fire program in Central Oregon, click here and look for links under "where will we burn."
For general information on prescribed fire and mechanized treatments, please follow the link to the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests’ webpage. Follow the link for "Fire Information" on the right-hand side of the page to learn more about fire suppression, fire ecology, and fuels programs in Central Oregon.