Willamette National Forest withdraws decision memo for 2020 Fires Roadside Danger Tree Reduction Project

Release Date: Jan 12, 2022

Contact(s): Tammy T. Robinson

Springfield, Ore., Jan. 12, 2022 – Effective immediately, the Willamette National Forest has withdrawn its decision memo for its 2020 Fires Roadside Danger Tree Reduction Project. The Willamette 2020 Fires Roadside Danger Tree Reduction decision authorized the felling of fire-killed or injured trees which pose a danger to roads and those traveling along them across about 404 miles of road affected by the Beachie Creek, Lionshead, and Holiday Farm fires of 2020. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service made the decision to withdraw following legal challenges posed by four environmental groups against the project.  

“I have decided it is in the best interest of the public to limit the continued time and expense associated with ongoing litigation surrounding this project,” said Forest Supervisor Dave Warnack. “Our work to safely restore public access to areas burned in the 2020 Labor Day fires continues to be top priority. Upon withdrawal of this decision, my staff will conduct another review of the purpose and need of this project and will consider a new approach to addressing this important issue. We will re-engage with community partners and other interested parties toward solutions and opportunities to facilitate safely reopening fire affected areas.”

The purpose of the project was to provide for access and improved safety along Forest System Roads within the fire burned areas on the forest and reopen these roads as quickly as possible for public and administrative use. These areas will remain closed to the public until safety concerns are addressed. Felled trees would have been used for a variety of purposes. Some would have stayed on-site to reduce the risk of sediment run off and provide wildlife habitat, some may have been used for restoration projects as fish and wildlife habitat logs, while others would have been sold to local mills to become wood products, offered through permits for firewood to the local community, or given to Tribes for cultural use.

The public will have the opportunity to participate in future planning for fire affected roads through the U.S. Forest Service public involvement process before any new decision is made. Learn more about this project on our website at https://go.usa.gov/xt2w9. Review frequently asked questions and other danger tree resources at https://go.usa.gov/xt2vV.

The forest can answer questions about the project but will be unable to answer questions directly related to litigation proceedings.




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