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Cedar Creek Fire’s size trimmed a bit, to 125k acres; now 75% contained

A botanist studies an area burned by the Cedar Creek Fire
Willamette National Forest
A botanist studies an area burned by the Cedar Creek Fire

(Update: Burned Area Emergency Response Team reports out0

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes National Forest as of Tuesday has further reduced the temporary emergency closure area implemented as a result of the Cedar Creek Fire, while the Willamette National Forest released Burned Area Response Team evaluations of the impacts of the 125,000-acre fire.

Willamette National Forest officials confirmed new figures Wednesday, saying the fire has been mapped at 125,283 acres (a bit smaller than the 127,000-plus acreage figure of early November) and is now 75% contained, up from 70% a few weeks ago.

The continued Deschutes National Forest closure area includes Forest Service Road 4290, Forest Service Road 4630 west of the junction with Forest Service Road 640 and 4636, Forest Service Road 4636, Little Cultus Lake Day Use and Campground, Lemish Lake Trailhead, Many Lakes Trailhead, and Irish & Taylor Trailhead.

Additionally, during winter recreation season, the closure includes snowmobile routes, including theIrish and Taylor Trail, Border to Border Trail and Charlton Trail.

Snowmobile Trail #5, which follows the Cascade Lakes Highway, remains open. Please see the attached map for an overview of closure area.

This temporary closure will remain in place through the winter for public safety due to overhead hazards, including snags and fire-weakened trees.

The Cedar Creek Fire, first reported late on Sunday, July 31, was one of several lightning-sparked fires on the Willamette National Forest by August 1 and grew to more than 127,000 acres, closing a broad area of the Willamette and Deschutes forests, prompting evacuations and and sending smoke streaming into the High Desert on multiple occasions. As of the final daily report in early November, it was 70% contained.

For more information, the public can contact the Bend-Ft. Rock Ranger District at 541-383-5300. For information regarding the Willamette National Forest’s Cedar Creek Fire closure, please call the Middle Fork Ranger District at (541) 782-2283.

Meanwhile, the Willamette National Forest says the Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has completed its emergency assessments of the Cedar Creek Fire.

BAER is an emergency program aimed at managing imminent, unacceptable risks to human life and safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from post-wildfire conditions. One of the main objectives of the team’s assessment is to identify critical values at risk of additional damage due to recent wildfires. Once they identify those values, they outline the risks and suggest mitigation treatments to minimize future risk.

The Cedar Creek BAER team created executive summaries that provide a glimpse into the scientific analysis and results of its assessments. Visit https://tinyurl.com/mvp6f4ah to review the Cedar Creek Fire BAER Summary, the Soil Burn Severity Map, the Vegetation Mortality Map, and other resources.

These resources highlight what is now known. A deeper understanding of the short- and long-term effects of the Cedar Creek Fire will be clearer as access is slowly gained in the coming year, officials said, adding that they will share updated information as available. Currently, the forest is working to implement these emergency measures to mitigate effects of winter storms to critical values.

Forest Service officials said they are working closely with local and state agencies on immediate and longer-term recovery needs. Suppression repair and other mitigation work has been occurring in many areas. Implementation of BAER treatments have begun and will continue through the next year as winter conditions allow. Some treatments, such as invasive weeds detection and response, will not take place until 2023.

For more information on the Cedar Creek Fire, visit: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/8307/ and for Cedar Creek Fire BAER information, visit https://tinyurl.com/mvp6f4ah.

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