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County declares emergency, closes parks

County declares emergency, closes parks

  • Updated
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Beazell Memorial County Forest

Benton County closed Beazell Forest and several other recreation sites last week.

Benton County and the city of Corvallis both declared a state of emergency last week in response to the rash of Oregon wildfires.

The declarations allow the local government entities to access state and federal relief funds, provide mutual aid to neighboring communities and recoup costs for local emergency response efforts.

The county declaration was the result of a a unanimous vote Thursday of the Benton County Board of Commissioners. City Manager Mark Shepard initiated the declaration for the city of Corvallis on Thursday.

The city and county also have announced closures of parks and natural areas because of bad air quality and severe fire danger.

County facilities closed are Fitton Green, the Mulkey Trail, Jackson Frazier Wetlands, Fort Hoskins, Beazell Forest and Clemens Park. County parks remaining open as of late last week were Salmonberry, North Albany, Adair, Hyak, Bellfountain and Irish Bend.

Corvallis closures included the Bald Hill Natural Area, Brandis Natural Area, Chip Ross Natural Area, Forest Dell Natural Area, Herbert Farm Natural Area, Marys River Natural Area, Noyes Natural Area, Orleans Natural Area, Owens Farm Natural Area. Timber Hill Natural Area and the Witham Natural Area.

The Siuslaw National Forest, which includes Marys Peak, other sections of the Coast Range and the central Oregon coast, were also closed. Forest officials strongly encourage the public to avoid visiting the forest effective immediately. The closure went into effect on Thursday.

According to a news release, firefighting resources already were stretched thin across the region and the nation, and conditions remained unsafe for forest employees to address hazards due to downed trees.

In addition, the Bureau of Land Management closed several sites, including Alsea Falls.

All across the BLM’s Northwest Oregon District, all developed campgrounds were closed to the public. The temporary closure covers the northwestern part of the state, west of the Cascade Range and north from Cottage Grove to the Columbia River.

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