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More sections of Santiam State Forest to re-open following 2020 fires

The Rocky Top area of Santiam State Forest was damaged by wildfires in 2020.
Oregon Department of Forestry
The Rocky Top area of Santiam State Forest was damaged by wildfires in 2020.

Some of the forest land burned in the 2020 wildfires in western Oregon will re-open to the public in January.

The Oregon Department of Forestry says it’s reopening about 4,000 acres of the Santiam State Forest, north of Highway 22 in eastern Marion County. The section includes the Niagara and Rocky Top areas. The agency says post-fire clean-up and hazard tree mitigation is complete, although it notes that some of the area will remain hard to access for now due to snow-covered roads.

Some of the more popular destinations in the Santiam State Forest remain off-limits, including Shellburg Falls and the High Lakes Recreation Area.

Also, many of the fire-scarred sections of the Willamette National Forest are still closed as a result of fires in both 2020 and 2021. State and federal forest managers urge people headed out to the woods to check agency websites ahead of time and to avoid entering closed areas.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”