The Gales Creek Overlook in the Tillamook State Forest on July 14, 2021. Photo: Chas Hundley
Facing another heat wave, the Oregon Department of Forestry will move fire danger to “extreme” in the eastern portion of the Tillamook State Forest and surrounding ODF-protected areas, and prohibit a number of activities in areas of the forest starting early Wednesday morning.
Use of motorized vehicles and all campfires will be banned starting 1 a.m. Wednesday, August 11, with some exceptions, the agency said in a press release.
In the Tillamook State Forest, the area includes the Sunset Rest Area on Highway 26 near milepost 29 and areas east, and on Highway 6 from milepost 25—near the Kings Mountain Trailhead—and areas east of that.
The region where this will take place also includes the Sunday Creek area in Yamhill County, and in Columbia County near Camp Wilkerson.
While campfires will be banned in all of the above areas, waivers for several specific sites near developed roads will be issued to allow campers to use several locations that are more accessible to firefighters in the event of a new wildfire start.
Those sites include:
Gales Creek Campground & Trailhead
Gales Creek Overlook
Rogers Camp Trailhead
Deyoe Creek Trailhead
Elk Creek Campground & Trailhead
Kings Mountain Trailhead
Reehers Camp Campground & Trailhead
Four County Point Trailhead
Steam Donkey Trailhead
The forest will still be open to foot traffic, and non-motorized trails accessed through the above sites will be open as well.
There will be no smoking allowed in these forest areas.
“Given the extreme fire danger and extensive drought throughout the Northwest, ODF is taking this step to reduce the number of human-caused fires and allow firefighting resources to focus efforts on the current large fires as well as new fires likely to emerge,” Northwest Area Director Andy White said. “We thank Oregonians for your understanding.”
In a Tuesday morning email, ODF’s Astoria District Forester Dan Goody noted that for industrial users of the forest such as logging crews, NW-3 would enter into Industrial Fire Precaution Level 3 Wednesday morning.
Goody also said that a helicopter would be on standby throughout the weekend for the region.