CHEMULT — Monday night fire crews ignited 360 acres of the prescribed fire project on the Chemult Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest, south of State Highway 138 between mileposts 95 and 92 west of Diamond Lake Junction.
Smoke from the prescribed fire activity is expected to impact a large part of the surrounding area for the next 24 to 48 hours.
This morning there were smoke impacts observed on Highway 138 between U.S. Highway 97 and just east of the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park, near the boundary of the Fremont-Winema and Umpqua National Forests. Visibility is currently approximately a half mile in this area.
Smoke is also impacting Highway 97 south of Highway 138 past Chiloquin. Residual smoke is being observed in the Sprague River Valley and Chiloquin area.
Drivers in the area are asked to be aware of their surroundings, slow down, watch for increased fire traffic and signs in the area. Smoke may thicken more at night as it settles into low-lying areas, including along the highways.
The prescribed fire originally had a goal to treat approximately 500 acres. There are no additional ignitions planned in the project area in the coming days.
This prescribed fire is the first part of the larger Boundary prescribed fire being planned in the area this fall.
The forest in this area is old growth ponderosa pine, a forest type that needs moderate fire to maintain forest health. The area of the boundary prescribed fires are part of ponderosa pine restoration areas and are in proximity of the treated areas on the Forest that were used to help contain last summer’s Timber Crater 6 Fire.
Prescribed fire is applied by trained wildland firefighters under specific conditions, including temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and fuel moisture levels. They occur when the Oregon Department of Forestry Smoke Management Office indicates weather conditions are suitable for smoke dispersal.