Officials from the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest (WWNF) announced today that Forest Road 73 (FS 73), also known as Highway 73 or the Elkhorn Scenic Byway, is now open. FS 7312 is also open.

“It was important to mitigate concerns of tree snags, downed power lines or rolling rocks before opening 73,” said Jeff Tomac, district ranger.

“Forest officials recognize the importance of access to Anthony Lakes especially with upcoming weekend activities.”

Crews made steady progress to suppress the Bear Butte Fire and worked on mop-up and fire line rehabilitation this week. As recreationists begin to fully access the forest, and with the anticipation of solar eclipse viewers on Aug. 21, 2017, fire officials are urging extreme caution.

“Due to dry conditions and the recent wildfire, we are not allowing campfires in the forest at this time,” said Willy Crippen, fire management officer. “Also, we ask anyone traveling on the 73 Road to look out for fire crews that may still be working in and around the Anthony Lakes area,” Crippen said.

The National Interagency Fire Center reports that currently, 19,700 firefighters are assigned to dozens of wildfires in six western states and Florida. The Northwest Coordinating Center reports 31 active fires in this geographic area alone. Over the weekend, fire officials and forest service staff are actively monitoring recreation areas to ensure public safety and that there are no campfires.

More updates can be found on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest website, and solar eclipse viewing information at the Region 6 website.