Umatilla National Forest reopens most lands within the Lick Creek Fire footprint

Release Date: Sep 9, 2021

Contact(s): Darcy Weseman (541) 278-3722

PENDLETON, Ore. (September 9, 2021) –  With the Lick Creek Fire 100% contained and in patrol status, Umatilla National Forest officials will reopen most National Forest lands within the Lick Creek Fire footprint today. Additionally, access will be reopened into portions of the Tucannon River drainage.

The modified closure prohibits access on the Pomeroy Ranger District to some roads and trails within the Lick Creek Fire burned area, National Forest lands surrounding the Green Ridge Fire, and lands surrounding the Elbow Creek Fire on the Walla Walla Ranger District. These areas remain closed to protect public and firefighter safety. Hazards within the closure areas include burned or dead trees, uncontained fireline and ongoing suppression operations (such as the presence of firefighting resources, large equipment, and aircraft). Public entry is prohibited within the areas identified in the closure, which includes lands, roads, trails and recreational facilities, as described below.

  • Green Ridge and Lick Creek Fires closure area boundaries include all lands east of: Forest Service Trail (FST) 3103, Forest Service Road (FSR) 46-300, FSR 46 to the junction of FSR 4610 and then from FSR 4610 to Panjab campground; lands south of FST 3139, FSR 4022 to the junction of FSR 42; lands west of: FSR 40 from the junction of FSR 42 to the junction with FSR 44, and then bordered by the Wenaha-Tucannon wilderness boundary to the Oregon/Washington border; and lands north of the Oregon/Washington state border between FSR 4039 and FST 3103. In addition, multiple roads are closed within proximity to ongoing suppression operations, including FSR 46 from the junction with FSR 4610 south to the junction of FSR 46-300, FSR 4610, and portions of FSR 4610-50, FSR 47, FSR 4022, FSR 4022-45, FSR 40-150,  FSR 40, FSR 40-180, FSR 41, FSR 44, FSR 4304-52 (non-motorized access allowed on this road) and FSR 4304-80 remain closed. Rose Springs Sno-Park is also closed, which includes a portion of FST 3283. Midway Campground is also closed.
  • Elbow Creek Fire closure area boundaries include all National Forest lands east of Bear Creek; south of FSR 6222; west of FSR 6212 and to the Forest boundary on the south. In addition, portions of FSR 6212 and FSR 6222 are also closed.

Visitors planning a trip to areas within the closure should cancel any plans for the next several weeks. A detailed map describing the updated closure area 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 Lick Creek Fire footprint 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). 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 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 HIGH. For areas that will re-open to the public, Phase B Public Use Restrictions are in effect. Under these restrictions:

  • Campfires are ONLY be allowed in designated campgrounds and recreation sites. Liquefied or bottled gas stoves and heaters are allowed for cooking and heating.  A list of designated recreation sites is available on the forest’s website.
  • No internal combustion engine operation (including chainsaws), except for motorized vehicles or if authorized by a valid permit (commercial and personal use firewood permits are regulated by the conditions of the permit and separate from restrictions under this public use restriction) . Electrical generators operated under the following conditions are allowed:
  • in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material, or;
  • when fully contained within a pickup truck bed that is empty of all flammable material, or;
  • when factory installed in a recreational vehicle and the generator exhaust discharge is in the center of an area at least 10 feet in diameter that is cleared of all flammable material.
  • No off-road/off-trail vehicle travel or travel on roads not cleared of standing grass or other flammable material. Vehicle travel is never permitted on currently closed forest service roads where access has been impeded or blocked by earthen berms, logs, boulders, barriers, barricades or gates, or as otherwise identified in a closure order.
  • Smoking is allowed only in enclosed vehicles and buildings, developed recreation sites, or in cleared areas.

Violating closures and fire restrictions is a violation that carries a mandatory appearance in federal court, punishable as a Class B misdemeanor with a fine of up to $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or up to six months in prison, or both.

For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the Information Hotline at (877) 958-9663.

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