Pole Creek Fire area reopens in part

Road to Pole Creek Trailhead likely to stay closed through winter

By Dylan J. Darling / The Bulletin / @DylanJDarling

Three Creeks Road is open again, more than six weeks after it was closed because of the Pole Creek Fire southwest of Sisters.

The U.S. Forest Service opened the road Tuesday, along with the Black Crater Trail and a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail near the fire zone, said Kirk Flannigan, recreation team leader for the Sisters Ranger District on the Deschutes National Forest.

The first 3 1/2 miles of Pole Creek Road have also been reopened, but the rest of the road to the Pole Creek Trailhead remains closed.

“The main part of it ... will remain closed because of hazard trees,” Flannigan said.

The road closure and the closure of woods at the heart of the 26,795-acre fire will likely last through winter, Flannigan said.

The Pole Creek Fire started Sept. 9 and was fully contained last week. The cause of the fire, which is still smoldering, remains under investigation.

A gateway to the Deschutes National Forest from Sisters, Three Creeks Road allows access to Three Creek Lake and nearby campgrounds, Flannigan said. It also becomes a groomed snowmobile route once the snow is deep enough.

At this time of year, the road is regularly used by firewood cutters, said Beckie Zimmerman, forest service representative of the Deschutes and Ochoco national forests.

While the fire burned much of the dead and downed wood often available for firewood around Three Creeks Road, fire fighting efforts likely created some, Zimmerman said.

“There are probably small decks (of wood) along the road,” she said.

The forest west of Three Creeks Road is still closed to firewood cutting, but the forest to the east of the road, Driftwood Campground and the Green Ridge firewood area are all open again, according to the Deschutes National Forest.

The Forest Service requires permits for firewood cutting, Zimmerman said. Permits start at $20 and allow for the cutting of two cords of wood. They are available at Forest Service offices around Central Oregon, as well as shops such as the Sisters Bi-Mart and Sisters Mainline Station. For more information call the forest at 541-383-5300.