By Lori Hawkins, Curry Citizens for Public Land Access, Gold Beach

Now that the fire restrictions have been relaxed and access to some project sites have been opened, CCPLA (Curry Citizens for Public Land Access) will soon be gearing up again for projects on roads in the national forest.

We are working through some challenges regarding a new requirement for chainsaw certification restriction, but hope to have a solution soon.

In the meantime, we wanted to share our concerns regarding the road access issues association with the Chetco Bar Fire. We have communicated our concerns to the Forest Service and encourage other concerned citizens to do the same.

We requested the following points be considered:

•Roadways and bridges damaged by the fire or the suppression activities be immediately brought back to a condition equal to or better than they were before.

•Any roads opened to support the suppression effort should remain passable, regardless of their status in the Travel Management Plan. Don’t use the fire as an opportunity to decommission roads. Spending taxpayer dollars to tank trap, gate or block roads needed in this fire, as well as other fires, past and future, would seem contrary to the interest of the citizens of Curry County and that of the Forest Service, as well.

In the past, roads have been blocked after fires were suppressed, citing safety concerns, but with the backlog of well-known and long-identified roadside hazards that have not been dealt with by the Forest Service, this seems a weak justification, especially since travel routes within the fire area should already have had danger trees addressed.

•Timber in the Chetco Bar fire area be salvaged as quickly as possible.

•Consider minimal fire-line rehab for those lines likely to be needed again in the future.

•Consider fire suppression needs when planning Forest Service road maintenance and approving other opportunities for road work, such as through groups like CCPLA.

CCPLA is a nonprofit public service organization committed to maintaining access to public lands for future generations. We welcome new members, and meet monthly at 6:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at Panther Den Pizza in Gold Beach.

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