Here is updated information from the Forest Service:
Willamette Public Safety Closure FAQ
Sept 10, 2020
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the forest closed?
Our number one priority is public and employee health and safety. We have multiple safety
concerns including fires in the vicinity of the forest causing some community evacuations,
extremely high fire danger and limited firefighting resources across the region, limited staff
availability, and hazardous road, trail, and camping conditions due to thousands of fallen trees from
the unprecedented wind storm. The closure is necessary in order to minimize the chance of new
fire starts (most fires are human-caused) and to prevent people from entering, and possibly
becoming stranded in, areas with hazardous conditions. The closure is temporary and will change
as the conditions do and as we’re able to safely assess and address hazards. We are working in
coordination all of our partners, including county officials and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
What’s closed on the forest?
The forest is currently closed to public access, with few exceptions for some partners and
contractors who are able to safely continue critical operations (partners/contractors should check
with their Forest Service point of contact prior to entering the forest to ensure they have
permission to do so). The closure includes all developed campgrounds, dispersed camping, day
use areas, boat launches, wilderness areas, and all forest roads and trails.
What activities are prohibited on the forest?
The forest is currently closed to public access. This includes all activities within the Willamette
National Forest boundaries, such as camping, hiking, hunting, shooting, boating, fishing, mushroom
collecting, and OHV (Off Highway Vehicle) use. For the latest information about re-opening, check
our website, Facebook, or Twitter page.
When will the forest re-open?
The forest will re-open when conditions are safe for all visitors and employees; re-opening may be
a gradual, site-by-site process rather than a complete opening all at one time. Some areas that
sustained severe fire may be closed for much longer. We are working in coordination with fire
managers to assess fire risk, which may change as weather conditions change. As it becomes safe
for employees to travel around the forest, we will also be assessing tree hazards and damage on
roads and recreation sites, such as campgrounds and trailheads. We will open as soon as safely
possible, however at this time conditions remain uncertain. For the latest information about re-
opening, check our website, Facebook, or Twitter page.
Please visit TripCheck.com for the latest information on Oregon highways and interstates. Many
Forest Service roads are currently unsafe or impassable due to fallen trees from the wind storm. We
are actively working to assess and address the storm damage, when it is safe to do so. This maytake some time and we’re asking the public for patience and cooperation. For the latest information
about re-opening, check our website, Facebook, or Twitter page.
Unless you see flames, please do not call 911. For any fire information please check online at
websites such as the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center or the Incident Information
System. Given the sudden increase in fire activity throughout the state and limited resources, it may
be difficult to find information about some fires and it may take a few days for information to be
released. For evacuation orders and other evacuation information check county websites or visit
County Sheriff social media pages.
Where do I go now? What do I do?
We’re sorry if you have to change your plans to visit the Willamette National Forest and we
understand it is a difficult decision. We will only be closed as long as health and safety is a concern.
We hope you can visit us when it is safe to travel and stay. For the latest information about re-
opening, check our website, Facebook, or Twitter page. Please be aware that other national forests
and public lands in Oregon also have closures in place due to similar concerns (as of Sept. 10,
Siuslaw and Mt. Hood have forest-wide closures in place, Umpqua and Deschutes remain open).
Please check with the appropriate land management agency prior to traveling.
What happens if I go to the forest?
We are hoping the unprecedented situation alone will be encouragement enough for members of
the public to cooperate and avoid visiting the forest, for their safety and that of our employees and
local emergency responders. This is a legal closure order. Members of the public found to be
violating the order may be issued a citation pursuant to Closure Order # 06-18-00-20-19
What about campsite reservations?
Camping reservations have been cancelled through September 22, 2020 (rec.gov) and September
17 (Linn County) and in some campgrounds in or near fire areas or severely impacted by fallen
trees, for the rest of the year. In most cases, any reservation that was cancelled should have
automatically received an email from recreation.gov as well as a refund. If you can’t find any notice
about a cancellation, please visit Recreation.gov or call (877) 444-6777 (note that call wait times
are much longer than normal). We will continue to re-evaluate the need for campground closures.
There is the possibility that some campgrounds may remain closed beyond that date depending on
our ability to address hazardous conditions following the wind storm. For the latest information
about re- opening, check our website, Facebook, or Twitter page.
What about forest product permits?
The forest closure applies to personal and commercial use forest product permit holders.
Why not keep the Middle Fork Ranger District open?
This closure order takes into consideration all resources that are available to the forest and the
surrounding communities. The recreation areas across the Middle Fork Ranger District contain
vegetation that can easily burn. Even small fires and other recreation-related emergencies can
take resources away from where they are needed most in this unprecedented time.