Umatilla National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
72510 Coyote Road
Pendleton, OR 97801
Road closures remain in place due to flood damage
PENDLETON, Ore. – With improved weather conditions and reduced suppression activities, the Umatilla National Forest will lift the area closure for the Rattlesnake Fire on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, to provide access into that portion of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. The Rattlesnake Fire is 100% contained and is currently in patrol status.
While the area closure has been lifted the road closures remain in place. These closures include a portion of Forest Service Road (FSR) 47 from the bridge to the intersection with FSR 4712 and FSR 4713, which also both remain closed.
The roads within this area are closed while ongoing repair work is completed to fix washouts, debris slides, hazard trees, and other damage. The Tucannon watershed experienced substantial road and trail damage from the February 2020 region-wide flooding across northeast Oregon and southeast Washington. Due to significant flood damage, long-term temporary closures along the Tucannon River were put in place until critical repairs could be completed. Areas of FSR 47 still are unsafe for public travel due to unstable conditions, including debris slides and washouts. Forest staff are currently working to repair damage.
Detailed closure maps are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure signs will also be posted on the ground.
People intending to hike into, or near, the fire area should always remain alert and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees). Dead or dying trees that remain standing after a fire are unstable, especially in high winds. Loose rocks and logs can be present in a burned area and are unpredictable, creating a falling a hazard. Additionally, burned vegetation can also contribute to landslides, mudslides and erosion when rain occurs. The ground in a burned area can also be unstable, due to burned-out roots beneath the surface. After soils and vegetation have been charred, rainfall that would normally be absorbed could run off extremely quickly.
Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect.
Regulated closures have also been implemented on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon. Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR).
For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the Umatilla National Forest information hotline at (877) 958-9663. The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. To receive updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.