Lapwai, Idaho- On June 4th, the Joseph Canyon fire started and is still actively burning on part of the Precious Lands Wildlife Management Area in Northeastern Oregon. Due to the extremely steep terrain, poor road access, and unpredictable nature of this fire, the Nez Perce Tribe has decided to implement an immediate, temporary closure of the Precious Lands area to all public use. "Given the unpredictable nature of wild fires, we want to best ensure the fire crews are able to focus on their critical work without any additional concerns for public users being in the area. Public safety is always top priority," stated Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee Chairman, Samuel Penney. The fire is burning in and around the Grande Ronde and Joseph Creek Areas of Critical Environmental Concern on the Vale District Bureau of Land Management and in the Nez Perce Precious Lands Wildlife Area (Héte’wits Wétes). Firefighters from the Oregon Department of Forestry are working to protect ecological, geological and cultural resources along with private property, rangeland and timber.As of June 6, the fire covered a total of 4,000 acres. Currently containment is at zero percent. The closure to the Precious Lands will be lifted as soon as the threat to public safety has passed.