Logging to commence soon along Cloud Cap Road

Over five years after they were scorched by wildfire, some 5,000 dead trees in the Mt. Hood National Forest will soon be coming down.

Starting in early September, logging operations will commence along both sides of the 9-mile-long Cloud Cap Road in the Hood River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. The point of the project is to remove snags and other hazard trees that were killed or damaged by the Gnarl Ridge fire, which was ignited via lightning strike in early August 2008.

Mt. Hood National Forest spokesperson Laura Pramuk said after a wildfire burns through forestland, it usually takes several years before the stability of the trees becomes compromised.

“It’s a slow process,” she explained. “Generally, it’s four to five years before the trees are starting to fall. They’re becoming less firm.”

This past spring the Forest Service went to clear Cloud Cap Road for the upcoming summer recreation season, when many people use the road located on the northeastern flanks of Mount Hood to visit the historic Cloud Cap Inn. However, rangers soon discovered “quite a few trees across the road,” according to Pramuk — snags createdby the Gnarl Ridge fire.

Originally, the Forest Service planned on leading tours at Cloud Cap Inn this summer, but those plans were canceled and the road to Cloud Cap was closed to all forms of travel, with the exception of emergency personnel.

“It’s risk management,” Pramuk explained. “You can’t say with any certainty when a tree is going to fall.”

Timberman Inc. out of Parkdale was recently awarded the bid for the $70,000 project, which will include hazard tree falling, decking and slash treatment. Hazard trees will be felled within 50 feet of both sides of Cloud Cap Road and felled logs meeting the proper criteria will be used in watershed restoration projects to help create fish habitat. Logging is expected to be completed by November, after which the Forest Service will re-evaluate the hazard level. The road will likely not be reopened until at least late next spring or early summer.

While Cloud Cap Road remains closed, hikers can still get to Cloud Cap Inn via the Tilly Jane Trail (#643). The Tilly Jane trailhead is located at the closure gate at the bottom of Forest Service Road 3512 near the Cooper Spur Ski Area. Pramuk advised those deciding to hike on the Tilly Jane Trail should not stray from the trail, especially on windy days, as the Gnarl Ridge fire also burned through this area and created hazard trees that may pose a risk of falling.

Those with questions about the closure and the hazard tree mitigation are advised to call Hood River District Ranger Janeen Tervo at 541-352-1201.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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