Ongoing Response Work - After the Fire

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Current Updates

Due to safety concerns in the burn area, there is still a legal closure in effect. We are working diligently with partner groups to coordinate & implement trail work parties. 

When will trails reopen?

  • Trails from Multnomah Falls and west: End of calendar year 2018
  • Trails between Multnomah Falls and Cascade Locks: no timeframe (most severely burned area)



After the smoke from Eagle Creek Fire cleared, Forest Service trail crews encountered unprecedented obstacles along the popular trails that criss-cross the steep slopes of the Gorge. Learn how trail crews, firefighters, and volunteers have been tackling these challenges. 


Trail Assessments

Workers on Return Trail clearing rockfall.We have assessed over 67 miles of the 90 miles of trails within the burned area, finding a range of conditions from low burn severity to heavily-damaged sections where washouts, landslides, and downed vegetation make trails hard to follow.

Initial trail assessments included parts of the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and Oneonta, Horsetail Falls, Wahclella, Wahkeena, Gorge 400, Herman Creek, Larch Mountain, Gorton Creek, Ridge Cutoff, Return, and Nick Eaton Trails. Trails assessed first had relatively lower burn severities, gentler terrain, and/or lower risks of debris flows. Read trail assessment reports & status.

Restoration Work

Most of the fire perimeter was located within the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness area, so US Forest Service policy is to “Allow reforestation only if a loss of the wilderness resource, due to human influence, has occurred and there is no reasonable expectation of natural reforestation” (FSM 2323.54). Due to this, there will not be a widespread replanting of the burned area; however, there will be early detection and rapid response efforts in place to prevent invasive species from becoming established.

We are working with our partners to develop plans and will be sharing more information about volunteer opportunities in the coming months. 

Phases of Recovery

After a wildfire is contained on federal lands, there are three phases of recovery

1) Fire Suppression Repair. This work, to rehabilitate areas impacted by fire suppression activities, was completed by Incident Management Teams throughout late September and October of 2017. 

2) Emergency Stabilization-Burned Area Emergency Response. Known as "BAER" for short, this is a rapid scientific assessment of imminent threats to human life and safety, property, and critical natural or cultural resources on National Forest System lands. These "threats" are hazards due to changes to the landscape caused by the fire -- which can dislodge boulders, created weakened trees at risk of falling at any moment, and increase the potential for landslides and flash floods. The scientific assessment is used to identify immediate emergency stabilization measures and helps the agency prioritize funds to be allocated for mitigation activities such as hazard tree removal, rock scaling, and construction of stabilization features (such as rockfall fences) as well as improved alert system and signs about hazards for visitors. View Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) findings

3) Long-Term Recovery and Restoration. This includes the work to rebuild and repair trails and replace burned infrastructures such as bridges and signs. It can include ecological restoration work in places -- however, given that most of this fire took place within a designed Wilderness area, the management policy calls for little to no human intervention on the forest's natural regeneration process.