Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Road closure reduced on Rattlesnake Fire

Contact: Darcy Weseman (541) 278-3722

September 2, 2020 

PENDLETON, Ore. – The Umatilla National Forest has reopened some access within the Tucannon watershed following reduced firefighter activity along Forest Service Road (FSR) 47.  

Effective Wednesday, Sept. 2, FSR 47 and FSR 4620 will both be open to the Little Tucannon Bridge. FSR 47 will remain closed from the bridge up to the intersection with FSR 4712 and FSR 4713, which also both remain closed. The area closure is also still in effect for both firefighter and public safety.  

Forest officials will continually review the area and road closure needs based on fire activity, hazards and continued repairs on Forest Service Road (FSR) 47 above the Little Tucannon Bridge. Detailed closure maps are available on the Forest website and at any Forest office. Closure signs will also be posted on the ground.

Local fire managers from the Pomeroy Ranger District took command of the Rattlesnake Fire today from the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 3. The fire is 497 acres in size and is burning in the 2006 Columbia Complex fire scar within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness approximately 20 miles south of Pomeroy, Washington and a quarter mile south of Panjab campground. The Rattlesnake Fire is 95% contained.

Firefighters completed line construction around the fire perimeter and have begun suppression repair and mop up activities. Mopping up includes searching for pockets of heat, digging out the heat source, and cooling with water.  A 20-person crew will remain on the fire for a few more days. Fire behavior is minimal, but heavier fuels within the interior are still burning and smoldering, particularly in the north east corner where crews will continue to use hose lays to cool heat near the Tucannon River. Some smoke will be visible in the interior as stumps and heavy fuels continue to burn out. 

The public is advised to avoid the area. Although fire activity is minimal, many hazards are still present within the burn scar, including fire weakened trees, weak and unstable ground due to burnt-out stump holes, loose rocks, logs and debris and increased danger of flash floods due to lack of vegetation in the fire perimeter.  

The Forest will share updates on the Rattlesnake Fire as conditions warrant. Additional information is also available at: 

Hot and dry conditions are expected to persist throughout the week. Fire officials want to remind everyone that the current fire danger rating remains at HIGH and Public Use Restrictions involving chainsaw use are in effect. 

Regulated closures have also been implemented on State and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) in northeast and central Oregon. Similar restrictions may be in effect on State and private lands protected by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WA-DNR). 
For more information regarding Restrictions, please contact the Umatilla National Forest information hotline at (877) 958-9663.  The latest fire information will be posted on the Blue Mountains Fire Information Blog. To receive updates on fires in the Blue Mountains, follow our blog at 


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