Mt. Hood National Forest temporarily closes forest for fire and public safety

NEWS RELEASE

September 21, 2020 UPDATE:

The Labor Day windstorm caused extensive damage to trails, recreation sites, and roads on the forest. We have thousands of down trees, dozens of down power lines, and some damaged structures as well. Our staff is beginning to clear out roads and assess the damage.

For the next few days at least, the Mt. Hood National Forest will remain CLOSED to public access. We are continuing to evaluate the closure on a daily basis while providing for the safety of the public and our employees.

The forest will likely re-open in stages, with dispersed areas and sites on the east side opening first.  Campgrounds are probably closed for the season.  Additionally, we still have two fire closures that will be in effect. 

Down trees near Ramona Falls PCT damage near Zigzag Canyon
Road near Ramona Falls Timberline Trail near Zigzag Canyon

 

Original Release Date: September 8, 2020

The local area remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched thin across the region and nation.  Due to these conditions, the Mt. Hood National Forest is temporarily closing to public access.  This includes developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, day use areas, wilderness areas, and all forest roads and trails.

This closure goes into effect at 6:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, and will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.  This is a temporary closure to protect public and firefighter safety and health.  People in the process of evacuating the forest are exempt from the order.

Extreme fire weather has caused rapid growth of fires, and new ignitions have strained all resources for the forest and region.  Nationally, and within Oregon, firefighting resources are operating at maximum capacity resources severely limited.  While the forest has been under fire restrictions, we still see unattended and abandoned campfires across the forest, heightening the risk to firefighters, the public, and wildlife.  

“At this time, with extreme fire danger, multiple wildfire growing, and new wildfires igniting and multiple evacuations, it’s simply not safe to visit,” said Forest Supervisor Richard Periman.  “Thank you for your patience and cooperation during this time of extreme fire threat.”

It is critical that forest visitors follow this important closure for their own safety and the safety of our firefighters.  Residents are encouraged to “follow” their local county sheriff’s department Facebook pages and websites for information about evacuation safety. 

More information about fires on the Mt. Hood National forest at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/mthood/fire

The Willamette National Forest also has a forest closure in effect.  For information visit: https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/willamette/news-events

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mthood/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD800449