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home : current news : current news August 16, 2017

6/13/2017 11:43:00 AM
Wildland firefighters to train in Sisters

The heavy, wet winter has created extra opportunities for fire specialists to wield the tool of prescribed fire in the fire-adapted ecosystem of Sisters Country.

To date area fuels specialists have completed approximately 1,000 acres of prescribed fire in areas south and west of Sisters as well as in the Metolius Basin. An additional 135 acres could be treated over the next couple of weeks, as long as weather conditions are favorable through the month of June, according to the Forest Service.

This week the Central Oregon Fire Management Service, made up of Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Prineville BLM fire staff, is hosting an interagency series of fire classes to train new wildland firefighters. This year's class of 45 students will have spent 40 hours in the classroom learning about fire behavior, the incident command system (ICS), and wildland firefighter techniques, and will spend time in the field learning how to dig fire line, utilize pumps and hoses, and how to safely put fire on the landscape. The new recruits will be supervised and assisted at all times by experienced and qualified wildland firefighters while they experience a live fire exercise on Thursday, June 15.

The 23-acre live fire exercise unit slated for treatment is two miles southwest of Sisters and a half-mile south of Cow Camp Horse Camp. This unit was selected to be burned to decrease hazardous fuel accumulations within the wildland-urban interface near Edgington Road.

The benefits of this training include standardization of firefighting basics along with ICS, allowing federal agencies to plug firefighters in anywhere in the country.

Due to the location of this unit, the public could see smoke and drivers may experience smoke impacts on nearby highways and forest roads. For all prescribed fires, signs will be posted on significant nearby forest roads and state highways that could be impacted. No road closures are anticipated. Residences and businesses in the area are advised to keep their windows and doors closed during the night hours to avoid any potential smoke impacts.

Fuels specialists will follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which governs prescribed fires (including pile burning), and attempts to minimize impacts to visibility and public health.

Keep up with prescribed burns in Central Oregon with a live map at

For more information, visit the Deschutes website at and follow on twitter @CentralORFire.

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