With all the fires burning in north central Idaho, southeastern Washington and beyond, it’s tough to keep track of what is open and closed. But there are places to go for those who want to get outside.
That said, it’s a dynamic situation, with many of the closures changing daily. Carol Hennessey, recreation manager for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, recommends people seek the latest information before departing for a visit to the forest. Forest officials are maintaining fire information with closures and a map at bit.ly/3kVP7As. The map is large and may take a moment to load. It indicates broadly where fires and closures are. More detailed information is available by returning to the fire information page and clicking on links for specific fires.
The forest also is answering questions through its Facebook Page at facebook.com/NPClwNFs/, and information is available by calling local forest offices.
“It’s changing so rapidly, and there is not a corridor on this forest that is not affected,” Hennessey said. “No matter where anybody wants to play, there is fire and fire closure, so people need to check with us.”
The agency also is advising visitors to be a little more wary than normal and plan to leave quickly if conditions change. Forecasted winds could bring small, unknown fires from recent lightning storms to life or cause existing fires to grow.
“We might have holdover fires that we don’t even know about yet that may show themselves in the wind,” Hennessey said. “We want people to be ready to leave.”
This list of closures doesn’t represent the entirety of closed areas, roads and trails but is a collection of some of the more popular places visited by the public:
Lochsa Powell Ranger District
The Lolo Motorway, Nee-Mee-Poo Trail and Lewis and Clark Trail are effectively closed. A small section of the Motorway, also known as the 500 Road, is technically open, but it is landlocked by closures on either side. The Saddle Camp Road (No.107), Road 109 and Granite Pass Road are closed, and part of the Parachute Hill Road, all of which provide access to the Motorway, are closed.
There is a large area closure on the eastern end of the Lolo Motorway and west of Lolo Pass near Rocky Point that includes several roads and trails. Lolo Pass Visitor Center is open, but areas surrounding it are closed, including Packer Meadows and the Glade Creek Campsite.
The Lolo Creek Campground is within a closed area associated with the Snow Creek Fire southeast of Weippe. All or parts of Roads 518, 519, 5515, 5051 and others near the fire are closed. A map is available at bit.ly/3fuaR2E.
There is another large closure area south and east of U.S. Highway 12 at Lolo Pass that begins near Powell and White Sands Campground. The closure includes the Beaver Ridge Road and Road 111 To Savage Pass and encompasses much of the Storm Creek drainage and the lower part of White Sands Creek drainage and destinations such as Colt Creek Cabin as well as Dan, Dodge, White Sand, Maud and Storm lakes. The closure blocks access to Elk Summitt and Hoodoo Lake. The White Sands Campground is closed. Road 362 to Tom Beall Park is open. A map is available at bit.ly/3yp4CEN.
North Fork Ranger District
A portion of the North Fork Ranger District is closed roughly from the forest boundary east to the 247 Road along the North Fork of the Clearwater River between Bungalow and Aquarius. The road is closed between Skull Creek and Bungalow, and the closure includes Aquarius and Washington Creek campgrounds. The closure cuts off access to Smith Ridge and the southern entrance to the Mallard Larkins Pioneer Area, and trails leaving the Lost Ridge Trailhead are closed. The closure also blocks access to the 247 Road between Aquarius and Skull Creek, even though that part of the road isn’t closed. Within the closed area are popular four-wheeler and motorcycle trails and destinations like Sheep Mountain and Clark Mountain. A map is available at bit.ly/3jssamd and bit.ly/3Aca3Y9.
There are several roads and trails closed near Osier Ridge and the Fish Lake Trailhead in the upper North Fork of the Clearwater River drainage. They include all of Road 737B and parts of roads 295, 737 and 5450. Parts of trails 414, 419, 419A, 429 and 479 are closed. Fish Lake is open, but only from the south via Trail 428 and from the north via Trail 114. Goose Lake is inaccessible from Trail 414. A map and written description is available at bit.ly/3AeRDpF.
Palouse Ranger District
The 447 Road is closed east of Camp Grizzly and just past Laird Park Campground. The closure extends all the way to the road’s junction with Road 377, which also marks the boundary between the Clearwater and St. Joe forests and the boundary between hunting units 6 and 8A. A short section of Road 381 is closed east of the Sand Creek-Moose Creek Divide. Road 767 is closed from its junction with Road 447 to its junction with Roads 1423 and 1433. Trails 330, 8230, 8321 and 8201 are closed. A map and written description of the closure is available at bit.ly/2WXFlUv.
The Johnson Creek Fire has prompted road and trail closures north of Elk River. Forest Service Road 382 is closed near Elk River and extending north to its junction with Road 3311 and then extending back south past Elk Butte to Road 3218 and 4702 until it makes nearly a full loop when it joins Road 1705 east of Elk River. Road 4702 is closed from its junction with Road 3311 to Road 1705. The Giant Cedar Grove is within the closed area. A map and written description is available at bit.ly/2VnmLol.
Red River Ranger District
The largest closure is associated with the Dixie and Jumbo Fires. Its southern boundary extends roughly from the mouth of Sheep Creek on the Salmon River and runs upriver in an overall easterly direction to the mouth of Bargamin Creek. From there it extends northeast to Poet Creek Campground on Magruder Corridor and then heads west along the Magruder Road back to the Red River Work Center. From there the boundary heads west-southwest in a straight line to Orogrande. From there it follows Road 233 over Orogrande Summit to the road’s end. From there it follows Trails 230 and 201 and Sheep Creek back to the Salmon River.
The Salmon River Road and Magruder Road are open. Road 233 is open to Orogrande Summitt.
A map is available at bit.ly/37iRfdF.
A remote area near the Lynx Creek Fire that includes Windy Saddle, Elk Mountain, Running Lake and Three Prong Mountain is closed. A map and written description is available at bit.ly/3johPaH.
The entire Pomeroy Ranger District and the northern part of the Walla Walla Ranger District on Umatilla National Forest are closed.
The Wallowa and Grande Ronde rivers from Minam to Troy, Ore., remain closed because of the Elbow Creek Fire.
Lands managed by the Washington Department of Fish are closed between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., but some areas like the 4-O Ranch and Grouse Flats units of the Chief Joseph Wildlife Area, the Asotin Creek and Weatherly Units of the Asotin Creek Wildlife Area and the W.T. Wooten Unit of the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area are closed. More information is available at wdfw.wa.gov/about/wdfw-lands/wildfire.
Access to PotlatchDeltic land and other industrial timber property that is leased by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is closed this summer because of extreme fire danger.
Barker may be contacted at email@example.com or at (208) 848-2273. Follow him on Twitter @ezebarker.