Watson Creek Fire closure reduced, additional recreation sites reopened

Release Date: Sep 13, 2018

Contact(s): Tamara Schmidt

PAISLEY, Ore. – Tonight the Watson Creek Fire emergency closure area on the Paisley Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest was modified, shrinking closer to the fire perimeter and allowing several popular recreation sites to reopen in time for the weekend.

The majority of the roads making up the new closure order boundary are open, with the exception of Forest Roads 28 and 3380 in the northwest corner and Forest Road 33-012 on the eastern side of the closure area. 

All roads within the closure order boundary are closed, including Forest Road 28 from the intersection with Forest Road 29, south to the intersection with Forest Road 3411 just north of Ingram Guard Station.

The area inside the closure is still extremely dangerous and unsafe, with active fire, burning trees and falling snags.  While the fire is contained, full control will not be possible until winter snows start.

Public choosing to recreate in this part of the Paisley Ranger District are advised to be aware of continued traffic by wildland firefighters, as well as other large equipment operating in the area.

Popular recreation areas, including Deadhorse and Campbell Lake Campgrounds are once again open. 

Withers Lake, Hanan/Sycan Campground and Trailhead, Bald Butte Lookout, and the Bear Creek and Hanan/Coffeepot Trailheads are among the areas that remain closed.

It should be noted that the closure applies to National Forest System lands.  Private property within the area can still be accessed by the landowners.

The closure is formally referenced as Order Number 06-02-03-18-02-04 and will be lifted when conditions allow or December 1, 2018, whichever occurs first.

Violations of the closure order are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment of not more than 6 months or both.

Even though temperatures are dropping and humidity levels are going up, it is still fire season.  Forest visitors are asked to be careful with anything that can throw a spark or ignite a fire in the forest.

For those who choose to have a campfire while enjoying the forest, please make sure the fire is dead out, with water stirred in and no heat remaining.  Abandoned campfires can linger and embers can ignite wildfires.

For more information on the Fremont-Winema National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fremont-winema, follow the Forest on Twitter @FremontWinemaNF or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/R6FWNF.