Hazard & Danger Tree Removal

Historic wildfires burned over 112,000 acres on the Mt. Hood National Forest in 2020.  Many fire-impacted areas will take years to recover, but we are working to restore safe access for forest users. Part of restoring access is the removal of fire-weakened or killed hazardous trees along forest roads. These trees are also known as “danger trees.” 

A Road to Recovery

Danger tree removal will take place where fire-killed or weakened trees pose a safety risk to the public, employees, or infrastructure. Due to the size of the fires, work will continue for several years. Areas will be prioritized based on need of access and the severity of fire damage. Over 95% of forest lands inside the burn perimeters will receive no danger tree removal. Danger trees which may strike the road would be felled and trees which do not threaten the roads or other infrastructure would be left standing.

Roads have varying levels of fire-killed or injured trees depending on how severely the fire burned in the area. There are road sections where there are no danger trees, others with scattered individuals or small groups of danger trees, and more where all trees within striking distance of the road were killed by wildfire. Removing danger trees allows employees and contractors safe access for repair and restoration work. This includes reforestation and erosion control projects which can mitigate additional fire-related impacts to the forest. Our goal is to open fire-impacted areas as soon as possible

Roadside Environmental Assessment

The Forest Service is required to conduct environmental analysis when there is an action with a potentially significant environmental impact.  Before we can clear hazard and danger trees for safe public access, scientists, archeologists, engineers, recreation managers and others professionally evaluate all the potential consequences of an action and ways to improve a project.  The resulting Clackamas River Roadside Environmental Analysis concluded its public comment period May 27, environmental planners reviewed comments and adjusted the EA to incorporate comments where it would improve the project.

Once the objection period is complete, the Forest can move to implementation and begin work to clear danger trees along affected roads.  

 

 

  • Recreation Closures

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    The Mt. Hood National Forest sustained fire damage in 16 campgrounds, 4 day use sites, 4 boat access sites, and 22 miles of trail on the Clackamas River Ranger District. Currently, we are focusing on removing burned and weakened trees along roads and within recreation sites. Our highest priority is human health and safety and we will not reopen recreation sites until we are assured hazards have been satisfactorily mitigated and sites have been rebuilt to safely accommodate visitors. Please recreate responsibly by respecting fire closures. They are in place for the safety of the public, to protect natural resources, and to allow critical repair work to be accomplished quickly and efficiently.

  • Danger Tree Removal vs. Post-Fire Timber Salvage

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    While some danger trees may be sold commercially or for firewood, it is not salvage logging. Some danger trees may be sold for commercial uses to capture the value of the danger trees to enable the Forest to pay for danger tree removal, reforestation, stream and riparian restoration, and other recovery work. This project provides a vital first step to reopen fire-burned areas so we may move forward with fire restoration and repair and help the landscape recover.

  • Keeping Everyone Safe

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    Based on research from many other wildfires, we expect danger trees to fall over the next ten years as fire-weakened trees die or winter rains erode the soil around damaged roots. As stewards of our public lands, it’s our responsibility to provide for the safety of our employees and the public.  We are working as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible to remove danger trees and ensure public safety and the safety of our workforce.

Learn More About Danger Trees

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Frequently Asked Questions: Danger Tree Removal

Responses to frequently asked questions about danger tree removal.

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How Wildfires Weaken and Kill Trees 

Catastrophic wildfires can damage trees in many ways. Learn more about different ways to identify if a fire-damaged tree is a hazardous tree.

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Forest Roads: A Working Landscape 

Discover the different user groups that benefit from safe and open Forest System roads. 

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Wildfire Recovery Timeline 

A timeline of the stages of wildfire recovery.

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Managing Danger Trees 

Learn why danger trees along roads are an issue, how danger trees are selected for removal, and what happens to danger trees after they are felled.

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Safety First – Danger Trees 

Learn more about the safety hazards of danger trees.


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