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Closure in Slater fire area extended for tree removal work

The Slater fire in Northern California and southern Josephine County. Photo courtesy California Highway Patrol

The closure within the area of Slater fire, which burned 157,229 acres across Josephine and Siskiyou counties last year, will be extended through the end of July due to ongoing tree-removal work, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The previous closure, instituted in December, was set to expire April 30, according to USFS spokesperson Chamise Kramer. The closure will run until July 31 “unless rescinded sooner,” according to the order.

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest crews have been working to remove hazard trees along U.S. Forest Service Road 48, an area that leads into Happy Camp and sustained heavy damage in the fire. About 2.5 miles of the road had been treated as of Wednesday, according to a news release. That work has started the process of reopening the Wild Rivers Ranger District’s portion of the road.

“It’s my hope that the most recent closure extension will be the last full closure for the Slater fire area on the district,” District Ranger Scott Blower said in the release. “If work to remove danger trees progresses as planned, I expect to start reducing the closure area in August, and reopen road systems to the public as we continue to treat the roadside danger trees.”

The Slater fire started Sept. 8, the same day as Jackson County’s Almeda and South Obenchain fires. Officials declared it fully contained Dec. 10.