The firefighters weren’t there to extinguish the fire. They had started it.
The prescribed burn, ignited this month near the scenic mountain town of Bend, is part of a massive effort in wildlands across the U.S. West to prepare for a fire season that’s expected to be even worse than last year′s record-shattering one.
The U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have thinned by hand, machines and prescribed burns about 1.8 million acres (728,000 hectares) of forest and brushland since last season, officials from the agencies told The Associated Press. They typically treat some 3 million (1.2 million hectares) acres every year.