Public use and recreational activities within and near the Cougar Fire Area Closure are causing issues for the ongoing work of firefighters. Firefighters continue to patrol, rehabilitate and fall dangerous snag trees. With the opening of hunting season they are starting to see citizens enter the area. In addition, traffic has increased on the opened Forest Roads 409 and 474, which are being used by firefighters during the day.
Speeding is the biggest concern, and with tight corners, and in some cases limited sight distances, higher speeds endanger both the public and firefighters.
“Use of this small area of closed public land during firefighting activities jeopardizes both firefighter and public safety,” said Mary Faurot, Cascade District Ranger. “Until the fire is declared controlled, the area will not be opened and I urge hunters to use other nearby open areas.
“In the immediate area of the fire closure, and also along the Warm Lake Highway which may have fire traffic on it, we ask the public to reduce speeds and be extra alert,” Faurot added.
The 1,236 acre Cougar Fire is about 20 miles northeast of Cascade and approximately 4 miles west of Warm Lake. The fire is 100% contained, but is still burning within the interior so it is not controlled. The vast Boise National Forest is open for recreation and hunter use with only the Cougar Fire area closure in effect.
Further information is available at www.inciweb.nwcg.gov or by calling the Cascade Ranger District at 208-382-7400.