Prescribed Fire in Central Oregon

Prescribed fires, also known as controlled burns, refer to the planned and controlled use of fire by a team of experts under specific conditions of temperature, wind, and humidity. Prescribed fire is used to help restore ecosystems that depend on fire, reduce the risk of out-of-control wildfire, and increase community and firefighter safety.
  • Central Oregon Fire Information

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    Visit Central Oregon Fire Info for information on prescribed fire, wildfire and smoke on the Deschutes & Ochoco National Forests, the Prineville BLM and the Oregon Department of Forestry. Text "COFIRE” to 888-777 to receive Deschutes County text alerts.

What is Prescribed Fire?

Prescribed fire can be used to reduce hazardous fuels around subdivisions. It is also one tool used by fire managers and ecologists to improve forest and rangeland health and protect the quality of our watersheds and wildlife habitat.

Prescribed fires are set when precise weather conditions allow for a variety of fire intensities to meet resource objectives. Prescribed fire specialists may spend years planning a burn and work very closely with wildlife biologists, foresters, hydrologists, and other resource managers, as well as adjacent landowners, to ensure the burn meets resource needs.

Firefighters light understory burn in Ponderosa forest.Prescribed fires are ignited when predicted weather patterns and fuel conditions will minimize smoke impacts to air quality and public health.

Depending on the desired outcome, fuels specialists have several types of burns they can implement, with varying intensities:

Underburns and Maintenance burns use small strips of fire to burn with low to moderate intensity to mimic a wildfire under controlled conditions in order to clean up downed woody debris, needles and duff, while removing small areas of shrubs and occasional pockets of trees.Pile engulfed in flames in the snow.

Pile burning cleans up material leftover from a thinning project that is not used for biomass (firewood, fence posts, chips, energy production, etc.), and is done under cooler conditions since fuels specialists don’t want the fire to move beyond the pile being ignited.

Jackpot burning addresses high concentrations of naturally-occurring or thinning-related downed woody debris (not piled).

Broadcast burns are used when fuels specialists want to have a higher intensity burn where hotter fires are needed to reduce the amount of juniper on the landscape.

Why Do We Burn?

  • It’s a cost-effective way to reduce hazardous fuels and decrease wildfire intensity
  • It increases the ability of firefighters to protect homes and lives
  • It can maintain and improve ecosystem health
  • It can improve wildlife habitat by increasing native grasses, forbs and shrubs
  • Rosland Road Fire | A Restoration Success Story

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    In 2020, firefighters were able to catch the Rosland Road Fire largely due to prior hazardous fuels reduction work completed as part of the Greater La Pine Basin Joint Chief's Project.


Where Will We Burn?

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Want to Learn More?

Mechanized Fuels Treatments - Thinning, mowing and other methods to reduce the fuels in the forest

Hazardous Fuels Reductions - Central Oregon Success Stories

  • Rosland Road Fire - Prior fuels reduction projects helped firefighters stop the spread of the 2020 Rosland Road Fire

  • GW Fire - Previous fuels reduction projects slowed growth of the 2007 GW Fire near Black Butte Ranch

  • Incident 595 - Fuels treatments on the Crooked River National Grassland helped hold lightning fire at 6 acres