Hazards left in the wake of this summer’s fires necessitate keeping some of the area and road closures in place until next spring on National Forest Lands in Okanogan County, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release Friday (Oct. 2).
The closures associated with the North Star and Tunk Block fires, in the Bannon, Tunk, Dugout and Coco Mountain areas are expected to remain in place at least through the 2015-2016 winter. Likewise, the closure associated with the Okanogan Complex in the Bobcat and Beaver Mountain area as well as the Funk and Schallow Mountain area will remain in place at least through the winter.
In addition to the area closures, there are some road closures likely to remain in place:
• Black Canyon will likely remain closed through the fall to facilitate road work associated with Burned Area Emergency Response efforts.
• South Fork of Gold Creek will remain closed until there has been sufficient moisture to control the portion of the fire that is still burning in St. Luise Creek.
• A portion of South Fork Salmon Road (Forest Service Road 4200) will remain closed due to hazards from falling trees as will the West Fork of San Poil (Forest Road 3115-100).
Fire weakened trees, hidden stump holes, loosened boulders and the potential for debris flows are all safety concerns on National Forest Lands burned by the Tunk, North Star, and Okanogan Complex Fires.
“We know these closures come as unwelcome news to many who are anxious to get back out and enjoy their National Forest,” said Matt Reidy, Tonasket District Ranger. “Unfortunately, there are just too many hazards in place to safely re-open the Forest; at least until the winter snows and spring run-off have helped things settle back into place.”
For updated closure information, call Forest Service offices in Okanogan (509) 826-3275, Tonasket (509) 486-2186), or Winthrop (509) 996-4000.