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PaulO

Gnarl Fire

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Bad News:

 

After midnight on September 16th a spot within the wilderness increased dramatically in fire intensity during a period of abnormally warm and dry night-time conditions. The weather conditions, combined with large amounts of dead and dry forest fuels, caused the fire to spread quickly to the north. The fire continues to burn actively at night as well as during the day.

 

 

The 2375-acre fire has burned around the historic Cloud Cap Inn, but retardant drops helped keep the inn from burning. Tilly Jane campground has been burned over but, due to heavy smoke, the status of the historic Tilly Jane cabins is unknown.

 

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Mt Hood National Forest News Article

 

And this came from a PMR member

 

According to Doug Jones, USFS, as of a couple of hours ago both Cloud Cap and the Snow Shoe Cabin were intact, but we don't know if there is damage. Recall that the Rats tore out the log walls of the north wing of Cloud Cap several weeks ago; so the structure is vulnerable.

 

The Forest Service wrapped both structures in foil and smothered them in fire retardant foam.

 

Rumor is that at least one of the cabins at Tilly Jane is burnt, but I don't know if that is the TJ cabin, the American Legion cook shack or what.

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guess it bears saying though that, if the area burned, it needed burning - hopefully most of the cool stuff survived, and there won't be any dangerous fires for a good long while after?

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There are a couple of good shots of the fire here

Good news:

 

Gnarl fire leaves Mt. Hood structures intact

by Helen Jung, The Oregonian

Friday September 19, 2008, 9:55 AM

 

The historic Cloud Cap Inn and structures at the Tilly Jane Compound that had been threatened by fire are safe, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said today.

 

Crews had been unable to check on the buildings as the Gnarl fire, which suddenly kicked up earlier this week and aggressively advanced to a quarter-mile from the Cooper Spur Ski Area, blocked access. The smoke also obscured their aerial view of the buildings, said Jeree Mills, spokeswoman for the coordination center.

 

But by last night, they had confirmed that all the buildings were intact, she said. Firefighters plan to lay down sprinklers once they can get to the areas, she said.

 

Cooler weather is expected to help crews battle back the blaze, which has grown to 2,300 acres, up 300 acres from yesterday. The fire is 5 percent contained and officials have not changed their evacuation alerts to residents of the Mountain Shadow and Snowbird subdivisions. (For more on the residents, read this earlier post).

 

Winds may push the fire toward Highway 35, Mills said. But overall, firefighters are expecting better conditions. "The unstable air making that thing just rock and roll -- it's moved on now."

 

Other fires are continuing to burn around Oregon. Fire officials are estimating they will be able to contain the Royce Butte fire, southwest of Bend, by Sunday and the state has reopened Oregon 58, which had been closed due to the fire.

 

More than 147 homes and cabins were threatened when the human-caused fire began Tuesday, and more than 100 people were evacuated from the Crescent and Odell lake areas and a nearby subdivision. No structures have been damaged in the fire, and residents are being allowed to return to their homes, but officials cautioned that residents should still be on alert. The fire is at 381 acres and is about 60 percent contained.

 

The Rattle Fire continues to be very active inside the Boulder Creek Wilderness Area. It now spans 14,227 acres, up 3,070 from Thursday and is 28 percent contained.

 

The Lonesome Complex fire, 21 miles east of Prospect, has crossed into the Crater Lake National Park, and covers 15,500 acres, up 6,044. Anyone traveling in the area is advised to check for local road closures through the state's TripCheck site.

 

-- Helen Jung; helenjung@news.oregonian.com

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We were up there on monday, parked at cloud cap trail head and hiked up the cooper spur route, down to the eliot. you could not see any of the mountains due to the thick haze and smoke to the south. ill post some pics later!

 

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would have been cool to see. all we saw at the time was the haze, blocking our view!glad we went up when we did!

Great pic Couloir! Where is it taken from?

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FYI - Cloud Cap to Cathedral Ridge (Mazamas TH) all still closed as of Sunday Sept 28. Best call before heading up this coming W/E.

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The Cooper Spur road to Cloud Cap remains closed as of today. Forecasted precip should allow for re-opening soon. The Tilly Jane campground was scorched but no buildings burned. Cloud Cap was untouched but just barely. Many thanks to all the very hard-working Rangers and volunteer people who managed to save a lot of Mt Hood history.

 

Roads to the Mazamas TH (old Cathedral Ridge) and the Vista Ridge TH road are now open.

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Sounds to me like FS plans to keep the Cloudcap Rd closed well into next summer:

 

http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/news/2008/gnarl-fire/Needs-assessment.pdf

 

Needs Assessment for closure on the Gnarl Ridge Fire Area (MH-2008-11)

 

There is a continued need to limit public access and use to various portions of the Gnarl Ridge Fire area. The ‘Closure’ Area (see MHNF FS website) is needed:

1) To provide for public safety during Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) operations which include helimulching, hazard tree falling, and road work;

2) To provide for protection of soils resources – close to 600 acres of severely burned soils are within this area and there is a need to limit disturbance, to the extent possible, until soils stabilize; and

3) To provide for protection of heritage resources – new sites have been discovered within the Cloud Cap Tilly Jane Historic District because of the removal of vegetation that screened these sites from the casual eye.

The ‘Restricted’ Area (see map) prohibits use of motorized vehicles within the designated area. This restriction is needed because there are a number of existing dozer firelines that will not be decommissioned until summer of 2009. There is a need to prevent the establishment of motorized use (and potential subsequent damage and spread of noxious weeds) on these disturbed areas.

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doesn't sound like foot traffic will be restricted though? certainly not while snow's still on the ground?

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As of today, the Cooper Spur road is (still) totally closed. All trails up to TJ/Cloud Cap are closed. There is some limited log-clearing activity going on, work on protecting the road continues. The Rangers office suggests calling weekly for updates. When things will re-open is unknown because snow will end all work until spring.

That said, the N side can be had by ascending up the Elk Cove trail, then over the Coe glacier area, or you could hike the 12 miles from T-Line (only 10 if you can access the T-Line trail from the Meadows ski area). None of these are very feasible in winter snow conditions. Other options ??

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It's not so far over from T-line if you go across White River. If you're after tnf you have to drop in by traversing from Tie-In or suck it up and contour around and drop into the Eliot. 3.5 miles or so to Tie-In from Timberline.

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how are they gonna keep folks from skiing up the tj once the snow falls?

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Can't say, signs are posted at the TH to stop hikers going up. As PaulO reports above, they are presently concerned with controlling damage to the TJ/CC areas since they were scorched. Tree falls may make skinning up problematic as well. Sounds like the Forest Service doesn't much care about people above the tree line.

 

 

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Once the first few big storms blow through that area come winter time, won't that bring down many of the problematic snags that the FS are worried about? This link was on the FS page and it lists the areas/trails closed. Maybe come winter the FS will have a different position on access, in terms of human powered, to that area. That burn zone is going to be some sweet skiing once they open it up!

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I am looking forward to getting in there once the snow falls. I can't see it being a problem for skiers heading in there. We would be on the snow, no impact. As for dangerous trees, screw it I am responsible for me!!!!

 

They are not going close Cooper spur ski resort, super secret style. Park there and skin if they don't want people headed up there in the winter.

 

 

 

 

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Letsroll, I agree but...

 

If you go to the map the entire road and surrounding area are in the closed aread clear up to above TJ and Cloudcap.

 

As for what they would do...

 

Not sure how harsh they would be but the 'official' post reads:

 

MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST

HOOD RIVER RANGER DISTRICT

ORDER

Effective at 0001 hours on Friday, October 10, 2008 and pursuant to 36 CFR, Sec. 261.50 (A) & (B), the following acts are prohibited on the area shown in “exhibit A” and including sites as described in “exhibit B”. This is designated as the Gnarl Ridge Fire Closure Area and remains in effect until rescinded.

 

1. Being in or upon a closed area. [36 CFR 261.52(E)]

2. Use of vehicles off National Forest System Roads [36 CFR 261.56]

Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50 (E) the following persons are exempt from these prohibitions:

1. Persons with a permit, waiver or contract specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.

2. Any Federal, State or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.

 

This order rescinds and replaces Order # MH-2008-10 signed on September 29, 2008.

Done at Sandy, Oregon this 9th day of October, 2008.

______________________________

GARY L. LARSEN

Forest Supervisor

Mt Hood National Forest

 

Violations of these prohibitions are punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than 6 months, or both . (16U.S.C. 551, and 18 U.S.C. 3559 and 3571)

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I also wonder if the TJ cabin will even be open at all. Usually they stock it with wood and do the maintenance during the Fall. With the road closure I suspect that they haven't done any of that this year. Even if you could sneak in on snow covered ground, the cabin might be all locked up or un-usable. Has anyone heard from the group that maintains the cabin to see if they have been up there? The skiing is good around TJ, but without the cabin it becomes less attractive.

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