Monday, November 1, 2021

Umatilla National Forest prepares for long-term restoration after 2021 wildfires

 PENDLETON, Ore. (November 1, 2021) — As the smoke clears from the unprecedented wildfire activity on the Umatilla National Forest this year, Forest officials will be considering several options to restore the landscape within the burned areas moving forward. Fires burn at different intensities in different areas, so specific actions will vary across the landscape and some post-fire restoration may take multiple years to complete.

Three large wildfires burned more than 150,000 acres total and approximately 105,000 acres on the Umatilla National Forest this summer. While all the fires are now contained, some hazards may still exist including burned or dead trees, stump holes, loose rocks or logs, or isolated areas of burning material.

After any major wildfire, the landscape is transformed from the soil up to the tree canopy. Post-fire recovery work and timelines are greatly influenced by the size and severity of the wildfire.  Some activities, such as suppression repair, occur prior to containment to restore impacts from suppression operations, including rehabilitating hand and dozer fire lines, roads, trails, staging areas, safety zones, and drop points. Additionally, erosion control measures are implemented during suppression repair, such as constructing water bars (angled trenches) to route water and planting native seed.

Forest Service officials also assess hazards that remain in burned areas after fire, such as fire-weakened trees, rock fall, and areas of high erosion potential that can lead to landslides. These assessments are completed by a Burned Area Emergency Response Team (BAER) that comes in to evaluate imminent post-wildfire threats to life, safety, property and critical natural or cultural resource needs. BAER Teams have assessed and identified emergency treatments on the Lick Creek, Green Ridge and Elbow Creek fires that burned on the Pomeroy and Walla Walla Ranger Districts. Over the next several months, Forest staff will conduct emergency treatments, which include placement of roadside and recreation safety signs, replacement of damaged boundary and travel signs, repair of road and trail drainage structures, seeding around threatened and endangered species, and treatment of noxious invasive plant species.

In addition to these efforts, the Forest is developing long-term restoration strategies to help the landscape recover and become more resilient to future disturbances. Scientists and other specialists assisted Umatilla National Forest staff in identifying the ecological damage and making recommendations on specific actions that could help the area rebound naturally. Additionally, Forest staff are developing proposals for potential areas to conduct salvage harvest and replanting. Since the fire has burned in a mosaic pattern, there may be very different biodiversity impacts at different locations and elevations.

The Forest is also evaluating infrastructure damage from this summer’s wildfires, including campgrounds, day-use areas, bridges, roads and trails. The most significant impacts identified are to the numerous trail systems within the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness. Trail maintenance and reconstruction, as well as removal of fallen trees, will be a recurring need for several years following the wildfires. This type of work will be part of the Forest’s long-term post-wildfire restoration strategy. Falling trees and unstable trail surface are currently potential hazards in the burned areas and the public should use caution when recreating in areas that have recently burned.

To keep the public updated on post-fire recovery and long-term restoration, the Umatilla National Forest has developed an interactive story map, which can be viewed here: https://arcg.is/0nyrWq

Updates on fire-related projects and restoration will be posted on the story map as they are developed. The story map also provides a summary of the 2021 wildfire season, interactive maps highlighting this year’s wildfire activity, photos and maps on treatments that aided in firefighting efforts, and continued restoration activities moving forward.

As a reminder, some roads remain closed on the Forest for public safety. Umatilla National Forest officials are evaluating fire closures regularly and will modify or lift closures as soon as it is safe to do so based on fire activity and suppression operations. Sites directly impacted by wildfire may remain closed after fire activity has subsided while the Forest assesses hazards. Falling snags and limbs, stump holes, unstable ground, rock falls, downed trees, debris flows, and landslides can all occur in a post-fire landscape. 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.

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

BMIDC Morning Briefing, Thursday, October 21st, 2021

 

BMIDC MORNING BRIEFING

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

BMIDC WEBSITE

10/20 (NEW) INITIAL ATTACK

Fires

Acres

Umatilla National Forest

0

0

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

0

0

Vale/PRD District BLM Baker Area

0

0

NEO Oregon Department of Forestry

0

0

WA DNR Snake River Unit

0

0

BIA Umatilla Agency

0

0

Total

0

0

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Fire Activity

10/20 

Initial Attack 

No IA To Report

Prescribed Fire

OR-WWF-001542, Cat Box Grapple Piles. GRFZ. Buck Creek Area, 10 SW of Union. 66 accomplished 10/20.

Example: OR-974S-001114, Buck. WAL ODF.  T4N R44E Sec 11 NWNW. Courtney Creek Area. 29 Miles North of Enterprise, OR.  .1 Acres.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 9/29.  Contained 9/29.  Grass. 

 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Forest Service Road 4713 to reopen on the Pomeroy Ranger District

 PENDLETON, Ore. (October 20, 2021) —Based on assessments of road conditions and slope stability following recent rainfall, Umatilla National Forest officials will reopen Forest Service Road (FSR) 4713 on the Pomeroy Ranger District on Friday, Oct. 22. 

The remaining road closures are in effect to protect public and firefighter safety. Hazards along the closed roads include burned or dead trees, erosion, unstable road or trail surfaces, uncontained fireline and ongoing suppression operations (such as the presence of firefighting resources or large equipment). Public entry is prohibited on the roads as identified in the closure and described below.

  • Forest Service Roads (FSR) 4712: all vehicles greater than 50-inches in width are prohibited from traveling on any part of FSR 4712. (4.3 miles)
  • All vehicles are prohibited from traveling on portions of or all the following roads:
    • FSR 44 (3.9 miles)
    • FSR 41 (5.6 miles)
    • FSR 4206 (6.7 miles)

Detailed maps describing the updated road closures 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 fire footprints open, 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). The Green Ridge Fire still has uncontained fireline on the southern edge and the public is encouraged to avoid that area. 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 soil. Even areas that have no visible fire and that appear cool can still have hot ash pits below 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. 

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 http://bluemountainfireinfo.blogspot.com/.  

Additional information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla. 

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Oregon Department of Forestry declares an end to fire season

La Grande, OR--As of 12:01 am, October 22nd, 2021, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will terminate fire season for forestlands protected by the Northeast Oregon District. This includes over 2 million acres of private, state, county, municipal and tribal lands protected by ODF. The Northeast Oregon District includes lands in the following counties: Union, Baker, Umatilla, Wallowa and small portions of Grant, Morrow and Malheur counties.

“Although the weather conditions are cooler, and some precipitation has fallen around the region, there’s still a chance of fires escaping on dry and windy days. There are all kinds of opportunities for folks to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but we are still asking everyone to be cautious.” Said Justin Lauer, acting Pendleton Unit Forester.

The end of fire season means landowners protected by ODF can burn residential yard debris and burn barrels without a permit. This does not relieve landowners or forest operators of lawful responsibilities concerning the safe burning of debris or slash piles.

“Landowners with large debris piles or slash piles should exercise extreme caution. It is still very early in the fall and there is likely drier weather ahead of us. Waiting for more precipitation is a good way to mitigate the risk of an escaped burn. Landowners who have escaped fires can be held liable for extra suppression costs related to the containment of the fire.”  Lauer stated.

          Specific Smoke Management/Burning Advisory Information:

·       If you are under the protection of a rural or city fire department, please be sure to follow their burning restrictions. Additionally, burning within the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) requires a permit from CTUIR. You must follow all requirements as outlined in the permit. Burn permits for burn barrels or small amounts of yard debris are not required on lands protected only by ODF Northeast Oregon District.

·       Burning slash from forestry and logging activities requires a Notification of Operation/PDM from ODF. In addition to this permit, landowners are required to obtain a smoke management permit from their local ODF office. Before burning in northeast Oregon, it is also required to obtain the smoke management weather forecast. For smoke management forecasts visit the following website:

                      http://www.odf.state.or.us/DIVISIONS/protection/fire_protection/Daily/neo.htm

The Northeast Oregon District of the Oregon Department of Forestry would like to thank all our landowners, forest operators, the public and interagency partners for their efforts in fire prevention, detection, and suppression activities this season. 

To report a fire, call the Blue Mountain Interagency Dispatch Center at (541)963-7171, or dial 9-1-1.

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BMIDC Morning Briefing, Wednesday, October 20Th, 2021

 

BMIDC MORNING BRIEFING

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

BMIDC WEBSITE

10/19 (NEW) INITIAL ATTACK

Fires

Acres

Umatilla National Forest

0

0

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

0

0

Vale/PRD District BLM Baker Area

0

0

NEO Oregon Department of Forestry

0

0

WA DNR Snake River Unit

0

0

BIA Umatilla Agency

0

0

Total

0

0

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Fire Activity

10/19 

Initial Attack 

No IA To Report

Prescribed Fire 

OR-WWF-001543, Bird Tracks 621 Rx.  GRFZ.  Spring Creek Area, 12 Miles West of La Grande, OR.  25 Acres Accomplished 10/18.  345 Acres Accomplished 10/19.

OR-BIA-001511, Stage Gulch Rx.  BIA UMA.  Stage Gulch Area.  10 Miles East of Mission, OR.  50 Acres Accomplished 10/18.  1700 Acres Accomplished 10/19.

OR-WWF-001523, WVFZ Fall Piles.  WFZ.  Various Locations Across Wallowa Valley Ranger District, Enterprise, OR.  4 Acres Accomplished 10/15.  220 Acres Accomplished 10/19.

Example: OR-974S-001114, Buck. WAL ODF.  T4N R44E Sec 11 NWNW. Courtney Creek Area. 29 Miles North of Enterprise, OR.  .1 Acres.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 9/29.  Contained 9/29.  Grass. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

BMIDC Morning Briefing, Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

BMIDC MORNING BRIEFING

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

BMIDC WEBSITE

10/18 (NEW) INITIAL ATTACK

Fires

Acres

Umatilla National Forest

0

0

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

0

0

Vale/PRD District BLM Baker Area

0

0

NEO Oregon Department of Forestry

0

0

WA DNR Snake River Unit

0

0

BIA Umatilla Agency

0

0

Total

0

0

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Fire Activity

10/18

Initial Attack

No IA To Report

Prescribed Fire

OR-WWF-001543, Bird Tracks 621 Rx.  GRFZ.  Spring Creek Area, 12 Miles West of La Grande, OR.  25 Acres Accomplished 10/18.

OR-WWF-001542, GRFZ Fall Piles Rx.  GRFZ.  Various Locations Across La Grande Ranger District, La Grande, OR.  44 Acres Accomplished 10/18.

OR-BIA-001511, Stage Gulch Rx.  BIA UMA.  Stage Gulch Area.  10 Miles East of Mission, OR.  50 Acres Accomplished 10/18.

Example: OR-974S-001114, Buck. WAL ODF.  T4N R44E Sec 11 NWNW. Courtney Creek Area. 29 Miles North of Enterprise, OR.  .1 Acres.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 9/29.  Contained 9/29.  Grass. 

 

Monday, October 18, 2021

BMIDC Morning Briefing, Monday, October 18th, 2021

 

BMIDC MORNING BRIEFING

Monday, October 18th, 2021

BMIDC WEBSITE

10/17 (NEW) INITIAL ATTACK

Fires

Acres

Umatilla National Forest

0

0

Wallowa Whitman National Forest

0

0

Vale/PRD District BLM Baker Area

0

0

NEO Oregon Department of Forestry

1

.1

WA DNR Snake River Unit

0

0

BIA Umatilla Agency

0

0

Total

1

.1

INCIDENT SUMMARY

Fire Activity

10/17

OR-972S-001536, Pine Creek.  BKE ODF.  Pine Creek Area.  7 Miles NW of Baker City, OR.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 10/17.  Contained 10/17.  Grass and Slash.

 Example: OR-974S-001114, Buck. WAL ODF.  T4N R44E Sec 11 NWNW. Courtney Creek Area. 29 Miles North of Enterprise, OR.  .1 Acres.  Unknown Cause.  ODF Stat Fire.  Resources Responded 9/29.  Contained 9/29.  Grass.