Dry conditions prompt officials to issue Fourth of July forest use warning

CREATED Jun 24, 2014 – Six on Your Side
With the increase of forest visitors during the Fourth of July weekend — coupled with anticipated hot and dry weather conditions and above-normal temperatures — fire managers are urging everyone to be extremely careful with fire.

“Campfires have the potential to cause a wildfire when not properly extinguished,” said Boise National Forest Fire Prevention Officer Ellen Dunlap. “Make sure you never leave an unattended campfire and always use enough water to put the fire completely out. Please remember: if it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave.”

Fire managers remind recreationalists that it is illegal to possess or use fireworks on public lands. Law enforcement officers will be enforcing the law, and will have extra patrols in the forests throughout the holiday period.

Penalties include a $5,000 fine and/or up to 6 months in jail. In addition, a person responsible for a fire may be liable for suppression and restitution of the land costs.

Most campgrounds are expected to be open by the Fourth of July weekend, including Deadwood Reservoir, Bull Trout Campground and many high elevation trails, officials said.

Campgrounds are expected to fill up rapidly and reservations are recommended.

“Visitors also should avoid areas with fire killed trees, and keep a watchful eye on their surroundings. Recent large fires have left wide areas of snags that could pose a falling hazard,” said Boise National Forest spokeswoman Linda Steinhaus.

Motor Vehicle Use maps are available at Ranger District offices, the Boise Interagency Visitor Center or on the Boise National Forest webpage. The maps show designated routes for motorized recreation users.

For more information, you can call the Interagency Visitor Center at 208-373-4007, or stop by the office at 1387 South Vinnell Way in Boise or contact the Ranger District offices.

Here’s a breakdown of campground availability and conditions:

Cascade Ranger District: 208-382-7400

• All campgrounds are expected to be open.
• 6-26-2014 UPDATE: The road from LANDMARK TO DEADWOOD RESERVOIR IS CLOSED – (NFS road 579 to the NFS road 555) due to a snow slide across the road. Call the District for updates.
• Open roads to Deadwood Reservoir include (NFS road 579 through Cape Horn from Highway21 and NFS road 582 – Clear Creek Road from Lowman).
• The Snowbank Mountain National Forest System road 446 (NFS road 446) to the FAA radar site on West Mountain is open.
• Lick Creek Road to the South Fork Salmon River and Yellow Pine is open.
• Contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at: 208-334-3700 or www.fishandgame.idaho.gov for specific information regarding salmon fishing in the South Fork Salmon River.

Lowman Ranger District: 208-259-3361

• THE SCOTT MOUNTAIN ROAD (NFS road 555) IS CLOSED TO DEADWOOD FOR REPAIR WORK.
• 6-26-2014 UPDATE: The road from LANDMARK TO DEADWOOD RESERVOIR IS CLOSED – (NFS road 579 to the NFS road 555) due to a snow slide across the road. Call the District for updates.
• Open roads to Deadwood Reservoir include (NFS road 579 through Cape Horn from Highway 21 and NFS road 582 – Clear Creek Road from Lowman).
• All campgrounds are open including Bull Trout Lake Campground and Deadwood Campgrounds.
• The road to Grandjean is open.
• The Clear Creek Road (NFS road 582) is open to Bear Valley and Deadwood areas.
• Trails that begin near the South Fork Payette River are open and snow free.

Emmett Ranger District: 208-365-7000
Garden Valley Guard Station: 208-462-3241

• All campgrounds are open.
• The Middle Fork Payette River Road (NFS road 698) and (NFS road 671) to Silver Creek are open.
• All access roads to Sage Hen Reservoir are open. Visitors hauling trailers are strongly advised to utilize (NFS road 618) through Ola. The (NFS road 626) through Smiths Ferry is not recommended.
• The Sage Hen and KYAOTT ATV trail system are open.
• The Boiling Springs Cabin is open. Deadwood Lookout is closed because of snow. It will open once the road is passable. Reserve at: www.recreation.gov.
• The Silver Creek/Bull Creek Trails will be open July 1 to Nov. 14 for motorcycle and non-motorized trail users.

Mountain Home Ranger District: 208-587-7961

• THE DANSKIN TRAIL AREA, WILSON TRAIL SYSTEM AND DOG CREEK AREA ARE CLOSED FOR PUBLIC SAFETY DUE TO 2013 WILDFIRES.
• Be aware of logging activities on roads near the Elk, Pony and Trinity Ridge Wildfires. A closure remains in effect for the Elk and Pony Wildfires of 2013.
• Visitors in burned areas are advised to use caution on roads and trails. Fire killed trees are abundant in some areas, and in the event of heavy rain, higher water flows/flash floods could develop quickly.
• Shafer Butte Campground is open.
• Campgrounds in the Trinity Lakes Recreation Area are expected to be open by July 15. Call the District for updates.
• Rental cabins at Trinity Lakes Recreation Area will open July 15th. Reservations can be made through www.recreation.gov.
• The Featherville to Rocky Bar Road, (NFS road 156) and Phifer Creek Road (NFS road 156) to Middle Fork Boise River are open.
• The Middle Fork Boise River Road (NFS road 268) is open.
• James Creek Road (NFS road 126) to Atlanta is open.
• Reservoirs are at full capacity and boat docks are available.

Idaho City Ranger District: 208-392-6681

• All campgrounds are open.
• The road to Graham Guard Station Cabin (NFS road 312) is expected to be open. Road crews are going to check conditions the week of the 4th of July. Call the District for updates.
• The Graham Guard Station Cabin and Graham airstrip are open.
• The Barber Flat Bridge that crosses the North Fork Boise River on (NFS road 376) is restricted to vehicles with a wheelbase of 50 inches or less due to bridge damage.
• The North Fork Boise River Road (NFS road 327) is open.
• Campgrounds along Highway 21 including Ten Mile, Grayback Gulch, Bad Bear, and Hayfork and Edna Creek are all open.
• The Crooked River Trail is open.
• Jenny Lake Trail is open. There may be a few snow drifts along the trail. Call the District for updates.
Many campsites on the Forest are available by reservation, although some have “first come, first serve” opportunities.
Campers are encouraged to make reservations using the National Recreation Reservation Service by calling toll free 1-877-444-6777 or via the Internet atwww.recreation.gov.