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Fire managers will work to reduce hazardous fuels on 3,800 acres Thursday and Friday

Fire managers on the Ochoco National Forest will take advantage of recent moisture to start working on the Upper Beaver prescribed burn next week on the Paulina Ranger District, a project to reduce hazardous fuels and improve habitat across 3,800 acres just south of Black Canyon Wilderness.

Ignitions are expected to begin around 11 a.m. Tuesday and last two to three days with smoke lingering in the area for the rest of the week.

"We realize most people are just now breathing a sigh of relief that fire season is winding down," said Paulina District Ranger Gary Asbridge. "But this is our opportunity to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health during a time of our choosing, rather than waiting for a lightning strike or an escaped campfire to burn those fuels during the summer."

Objectives for the burn are to improve natural resources within the unit by reducing hazardous fuels and improving big game habitat while restoring fire to a fire-adapted ponderosa pine ecosystem. The unit is just west of the 2015 Corner Creek Fire that burned nearly 30,000 acres.

The prescribed burn is planned to fall in between archery and rifle deer hunting seasons, in order to impact hunters as little as possible. Smoke will be visible from Paulina, 13 miles to the southeast, and from Mud Springs and Frazier Campgrounds, but is not expected to close any roads to motorized traffic.

This is a continuation of a project started last year. Firefighters completed blacklines around the unit last October and then heavy precipitation prevented them from actually starting any interior ignitions. Next week, fire managers plan to use aerial ignitions delivered from a helicopter to create low-intensity interior burns while strengthening control lines around the burn to prevent it from moving outside the planned unit.

Prescribed burning is part of a Forest Service program to remove hazardous fuels in order to reduce the potential for high-intensity uncharacteristic fire, while restoring low-intensity fire to a fire-adapted ecosystem and improving range and forest health.

Prescribed burning is a proactive approach to fire management, reintroducing fire in a planned, low-intensity manner that benefits the resources, instead of waiting for an unplanned ignition, such as lightning, to start a wildfire that requires an expensive suppression response and can burn with destructive intensity.

The Forest Service appreciates public tolerance of increased smoke and vehicle traffic in support of these restoration goals.

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