Baker City, OR - Current conditions on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest are warm and dry, with little to no precipitation forecasted for the coming weeks. Fire danger is high with multiple small fires burning on the Forest and several larger fires burning on surrounding Forests. Fire restrictions continue to be in effect with an IFPL of 3 and Public Use Restrictions at Phase A. Visitors are reminded to use caution in the woods and use good judgment when parking vehicles near areas with dry grasses.
Forest Service Road 77 (North of the 7745 cutoff and south of Tamarack campground) is currently going through the final phase of reconstruction. Crews are excavating the entire roadway at the South end of the project in preparation for constructing a reinforced slope. The estimated completion date is mid-October. The local communities of Richland and Halfway are looking forward to the completion of this project, as are forest visitors from all around the State. For additional road closure and fire restriction information, please visit the Alerts and Notices page, as well as the Roads Report at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/wallowa-whitman/alerts-notices.
As the days grow shorter and the nights longer, the vegetation on the Wallowa-Whitman is listening to the annual signal to change color and head into autumn. Some of the best fall colors can be seen right out your backyard in the Elkhorn Mountains and along the Elkhorn Scenic Byway. Mt Emily and the southern Wallowa Mountains also offer some spectacular views, and of course, Highway 39 to Joseph and Enterprise is a do-not-miss destination for leafers and fall color enthusiasts.
The closure area surrounding the Cache Creek Fire in Hells Canyon NRA has been lifted. Visitors are asked to continue to use caution in the vicinity of the fire area, but the lifting of the closure will allow longtime hunters and visitors of the Chesnimnus and Buckhorn areas to continue to pursue their fall activities. A closure is in effect on the eastern side of the Snake River due to the Wesley fire in the Rapid River wild and scenic corridor. For current information on the Wesley fire and a map of the closure area, please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3243/.
Currently, there are 2 fires burning on the Wallowa-Whitman; the Bald Mountain Fire and the Cache Creek Fire. Hot and dry weather has created prime conditions for fire starts, along with low relative humidity. No lightning is currently forecasted for the Wallowa-Whitman; however no precipitation is forecasted either. Visitors are urged to be very careful when recreating in the forest. Fire restrictions are still in effect and no campfires are allowed outside of designated fire rings.
“This is a beautiful time of the year to visit the Wallowa-Whitman. The colors are changing, rifle season has just begun, and the nights are cool but the days are still warm. I hope everyone is taking advantage of this great fall weather to get out and enjoy the public lands but make sure you consider the dry conditions out here,” said Forest Supervisor, Kevin Martin.