Fire Indices Higher Now than during Three Past Large-Scale Wildfires


With fire danger listed as extreme in much of our area, officials with the U.S. Forest Service are anticipating more restrictions in surrounding federal forests.

In an impromptu discussion with Asotin County Commissioners Monday, Pomeroy District Ranger Monte Fujishin said campfires may be completely prohibited in forest service sites by week's end.

With wildfire season not ending until September, Fujishin says there's still a high risk of a large-scale wildfire.

He says the fire danger is higher now than it was for the last three big wildfires in the Umatilla National Forest, including the 2005 School Fire, the 2006 Columbia Complex, and the Grizzly Bear Complex in 2015.

Monte Fujishin says, "Indices are higher now than when those incidents occurred. I think most of those incidents occurred in the second week of August. We're not out of the woods yet. So we're all taking a hard look at what precautions we can take between now and the end of the season."

Fujishin says there have been questions of closing the forests completely.

In his career, he's only seen federal forest lands closed once in the late 70's, and doubts that will happen this year.

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