With cooler temperatures, shorter days and rain returning, fire management staff on the Mt. Hood National Forest will be starting fall pile burning as early as next week. These controlled burns will reduce catastrophic wildfire risk and restore local ecosystems to a healthier condition for wildlife and forest communities.
Pile burning is expected to continue over the next several weeks or months, depending on weather conditions. Crews ignite piles in the morning and early afternoon to allow fuels to burn down prior to evening. Burn units are monitored by firefighters until they are declared out.
Piles are created during hazardous fuels reduction projects, fire suppression, timber sales, and timber stand improvement projects designed to improve landscape resilience to disease and disturbance.
Roadside slash piles created during fire line construction as part of the 2020 White River Fire will be targeted as well. As vegetation and brush was thinned in advance of the fire, the material was moved and scattered away from the fire’s edge. As part of fire rehabilitation work, equipment piled the scattered material, reducing the fuel loading from the suppression activities. The machine-created piles have been drying for over a year and are ready for burning this fall.
Fire crews may be igniting slash piles along the following forest roads (FR) this fall:
Hood River Ranger District
Barlow Ranger District
Clackamas River Ranger District
This is not a comprehensive list and additional areas with slash piles may be targeted for burning as weather permits.
Smoke may be visible in the vicinity during ignition operations and for a short time. No additional closures are anticipated, however if smoke drifts on to roads, motorists should slow down, turn on headlights, and proceed with care.
Fire and fuels personnel follow policies outlined in the Oregon Department of Forestry smoke management plan, which help minimize smoke impacts to visibility and public health.