The upper end of Forest Road and Browse Road and the Oak Grove Campground are all closed over public safety concern.
“You can see up here the vegetation is browning out, making them more prone to burn,” says Nick Glidden, the district ranger for Pine Valley Ranger District in the Dixie National Forest.
“Our fuel moistures in the vegetation is really low, the temperatures are really high and we have the potential for some extreme fire behavior,” says Glidden.
Every week, fire and fuels crews measure the moisture of the lands, known as the energy release component, or ERC. It measures how fast vegetation would burn.
“Our ERCs right now, are above the 90th percentile, we’ve had really dry years in the past and it’s really accumulated this year. At this point, it looks like we could be in another month of dry weather without rain,” says Glidden.
The roads that lead to Oak Grove campground are only one way in and one way out, posing a threat to recreators.
“Our biggest fear is that we get someone stuck up at the end of one of these roads with a fire at the bottom with no way to get out,” says Glidden.
He says there aren’t many places to weather the fire near Oak Grove, due to this steep terrain.
“We’ve got lots of recreation opportunity on the Pine Valley Ranger District, a number of campgrounds that are fully open, where folks can still camp. It’s just these two roads in particular that are closed,” says Glidden.
The area will be closed until fire restrictions are called off.