Historic wildfires burned over 176,000 acres on the Willamette National Forest in 2020. While many fire-impacted areas will take years to recover, we are working as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible to restore safe access for forest users. Learn about ongoing trail work, danger tree removal, hazard mitigations, and repairs
Danger Tree Removal Along Roads
Part of restoring safe access for forest users is the removal of fire-weakened and killed danger trees along forest roads, also known as “danger trees.” Due to the size of the fire impacted areas, work will continue for several years. Areas will were prioritized based on need of access and the severity of fire damage. The vast majority of the forest land inside the burn perimeters will receive no danger tree removal. Danger tree removal will take place where fire-killed or weakened trees pose a safety risk to the public and/or employees or infrastructure. There are areas of low-severity fire impacts within the burn perimeter where danger tree mitigation may not be needed. There are areas where large quantities of trees need to be removed and areas where tree removal will be clumpy or sparse, depending on fire severity. 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.
The Willamette National Forest’s 2020 Fire Affected Road System Risk Reduction Project was developed to accomplish this work. The project’s objective is to reduce the risks posed by fire-killed and injured trees that have fallen across or remain standing along important access routes of the 2020 fire-affected road system so that access to and through the burned area can be restored. The risks the project seeks to reduce include:
- Public and forest worker safety and ability to use roads,
- Firefighter access to new ignitions,
- Usability of potential evacuation routes,
- Hazardous fuel loads,
- Functionality of roads as potential fire control lines, and
- Road infrastructure damages and failures.
Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions and keep track of the 2020 Fire Affected Road System Risk Reduction Project’s progress with our Story Map.
Learn more about Danger Tree Identification from our Region’s Field Guide.
Learn More About Danger Trees
Frequently Asked Questions: Danger Tree Removal
Responses to frequently asked questions about danger tree removal.
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.
Forest Roads: A Working Landscape
Discover the different user groups that benefit from safe and open Forest System roads.
A timeline of the stages of wildfire recovery.
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.
Learn more about the safety hazards of danger trees.
Hazard Tree Removal at Developed Recreation Sites
Lands and recreation sites impacted by wildfire will be re-opened when agencies have assessed and addressed hazards so that areas are deemed safe for the public. A closed area will not be re-opened to the public if danger trees pose an imminent or likely threat. Evaluating damage to our recreation sites takes time while access to these areas is still being restored. We are focusing on removing hazard trees, including 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 all hazards have been satisfactorily mitigated and sites have been rebuilt to safely accommodate visitors. As soon as it’s safe and hazards are mitigated, trail crews and volunteers will be working hard to clear, rebuild, repair, and stabilize trails and recreation sites.
The Detroit Ranger District is working on a Hazard Tree Removal at Developed Recreation Sites Project to remove hazardous trees and reopen developed recreation sites that were affected by the 2020 Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires.
If your favorite place is closed or impacted by wildfires, take the opportunity to explore and discover new places in Oregon and Washington. 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.
Learn more about Hazard Tree Identification from our Region’s Field Guide.
Other Fire Recovery Projects
All Willamette National Forest Projects, whether for fire recovery or general forest management, are available for review on our Projects website. Here is some of what we’re working on in response to the 2020 Fires:
- Devils Creek and Breitenbush Forks post-fire Cabins Rebuild
- Delta Campground Decommissioning
- Detroit Ranger Station Permanent Homes Rebuild
- Hwy 46 Fire Recovery Soils Rehabilitation
- Planting 2020 Fires
Learn more about general Wildfire Recovery.
Return to: 2020 Wildfires Homepage