PENDLETON, Ore. (October 4, 2021) —With increased containment and reduced fire activity on the Forest, Umatilla National Forest officials will reopen National Forest lands on Wednesday, Oct. 6, leaving five roads temporarily closed to public access on the Pomeroy Ranger District. All closures associated with the Elbow Creek Fire on the Walla Walla Ranger District have been lifted.
The remaining closures are in effect to protect public and firefighter safety. Hazards along the closed roads include burned or dead trees, erosion, unstable road or trail surfaces, uncontained fireline and ongoing suppression operations (such as the presence of firefighting resources or large equipment). Public entry is prohibited on the roads as identified in the closure and described below.
Forest Service Roads (FSR) 4712 and 4713: all vehicles greater than 50-inches in width are prohibited from traveling on any part of FSR 4712 and on FSR 4713 from Panjab Campground to the end of the road. (total of 4.3 miles on FSR 4712 and 3.3 miles on FSR 4713)
All vehicles are prohibited from traveling on portions of or all the following roads:
FSR 44 (3.9 miles)
FSR 41 (5.6 miles)
FSR 4206 (6.7 miles)
A detailed map describing the updated road closures is available at the end of this news release, on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure barriers and signs will be posted on the ground.
With much of the fire footprints reopening, forest visitors should be cautious when entering any recently burned area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees). The Green Ridge Fire still has uncontained fireline on the southern edge and the public is encouraged to avoid that area. Forest officials ask that visitors do not camp or linger in a burned area. 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 soil. Even areas that have no visible fire and that appear cool can still have hot ash pits below the surface. After soils and vegetation have been charred, rainfall that would normally be absorbed could run off extremely quickly.
Forest visitors may also encounter firefighter traffic, downed trees in roadways, dusty roads and areas of smoke. Please be alert when traveling on the Forest.
Fire danger on the Umatilla National Forest is moderate. For areas that will re-open to the public, Phase A Public Use Restrictions are in effect. Under these restrictions:
Chainsaws may be operated only between the hours of 8 p.m. and 1 p.m. local time. A one-hour fire watch is required after saw operations cease. Saw operators are required to have an axe (minimum 2 lb. head, 26” length), shovel (8” wide, 26” length), and fire extinguisher (minimum ABC 8 oz.) in their possession. Chainsaw operation associated with commercial and personal use firewood permits are regulated under the conditions of the permit and are not impacted by this public use restriction.
Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles, buildings or cleared areas.
No off-road/off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material; no vehicle travel on those Forest Service roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berm, logs, boulders, barrier, barricade or gate, or as otherwise identified in the Fire Order.
The public is also encouraged to practice safe campfire principles when recreating in dispersed and developed campsites. Campfires should be in fire pits surrounded by dirt, rock, or commercial rings and in areas not conducive to rapid fire spread. (Note: within the Grande Ronde Scenic Waterway, campfires must be contained in a fireproof container (i.e., "fire pan") with sides of a height sufficient to contain all ash and debris, and all ashes and debris must be removed from the river corridor. Do not use or construct fire pits or rock fire rings within the Scenic Waterway.)
For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the 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/.
Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.