PENDLETON — Due to debris flows and flooding from recent rainfall within the Green Ridge Fire footprint, the Umatilla National Forest has temporarily closed Forest Service Road (FSR) 4712. The closure includes the entire 4.3 miles of FSR 4712 and Lady Bug Campground.
Recent rainfall has caused runoff and a large debris flow (including burned trees and soil) to partially block the Tucannon River, which has caused flooding within Lady Bug Campground and potential for flood damage on FSR 4712. Thunderstorms with additional rain are anticipated over the area today and tonight, increasing the potential for further flooding. Forest staff have implemented the road closure for public safety and will assess repair needs after the rain subsides.
Closure signs will be posted on the ground and detailed maps of the closure information will be available on the Forest website and at any Forest office.
Umatilla National Forest officials urge forest visitors to plan ahead and contact their local ranger district prior to starting their trip. Most forest roads are still not accessible due to mud, snow or snow drifts. In addition, traveling on thawing, saturated, and muddy roads can result in resource damage and serious safety concerns, especially if visitors are unprepared. Forest conditions are dynamic this time of year and likely to change throughout the day and week. Many places in the Blue Mountains have limited or no cell phone coverage. Forest visitors should always be prepared to spend the night in the forest with warm clothing, food and plenty of water. The public is encouraged to monitor the Umatilla National Forest Facebook page and website for updates on flooding.
Forest visitors should also be cautious when entering any burned area and be aware of increased hazards, particularly snags (which are recently burned or dead trees). Dead or dying trees that remain standing after a fire are unstable, especially in high winds. Loose rocks and logs can be present in a burned area and are unpredictable, creating a falling a hazard. The ground in a burned area can also be unstable, due to burned-out roots beneath the soil. After soils and vegetation have been charred, rainfall that would normally be absorbed could run off extremely quickly.
Information about the Umatilla National Forest’s 2021 fire season, post-fire recovery and long-term restoration is available on an interactive story map, which can be viewed here: https://arcg.is/0nyrWq. The story map provides a summary of the 2021 wildfire season, photos and maps of treatments that aided in firefighting efforts, and updates on restoration activities moving forward.
More information about the Umatilla National Forest is available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/umatilla.