▶️ Weekend rains, snow put an end to fire season, but plenty of work left to be done

By BROOKE SNAVELY
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY NEWS

Was this weekend’s rain – snow in the higher elevation – that fell on Oregon’s wildfires a “season-ending” event?

For many of the fires, yes. The rain helped immensely.

However, here east of the Cascades, fire managers aren’t quite ready to say the fires are all out.

“We got over 2 inches on the west side of the Cascade Crest. On the eastside we got about 1/3rd of an inch,” said Scott Owen, Lionshead Fire Public Information Officer. “We know for sure it’s a season-ending event on the west side. We are looking up the fuel moisture data to see if it was a season-ending event on the east side.”

Owen says fire managers are hopeful the next storm predicted Tuesday will be a season-ending event for the 204,000-acre Lionshead Fire that, as of today, is only 46% contained.

Most of the rest of the large fires in Oregon are approaching 100% containment.

“A season-ending event doesn’t mean everybody abandons the fire and leaves the area,” he said. “There’s a lot of repair and restoration work that needs to be done.”

More than half of the 1,500 firefighters on the Lionshead Fire have been reassigned to wildfires in California.

Those crews that remain are focused on restoration work.

“Repairing suppression lines, whether that was hand crew or dozer lines, making sure that the trees and snags that fall are chipped and returned back to pre-fire condition,” Owen said. “Also, opening up the roads so the traveling public can travel through there safely with hunting season and winter recreation season is upcoming.”

The Lionshead fire has not grown in two weeks, allowing the Deschutes National Forest to restore public access to Round Lake, Jack Lake Trailhead, and Jack Creek in the Metolius Basin near Camp Sherman.

The Bear Valley, Cabot Lake and Jefferson Lake trailheads leading into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness remain closed, as does the Pacific Crest Trail north of Highway 20.

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