Deer hunters and chukar hunters should avoid the Sturgill Creek drainage in Hells Canyon while vegetation is being re-established after the area was severely burned by the Weiser Complex Fire.
Idaho Power, in conjunction with the Payette National Forest, made the announcement Wednesday.
Sturgill Creek Road No. 011 from Bear Saddle to the west will remain closed to motorized vehicles until late spring, 2014, and possibly longer, due to the risk of landslides and falling snags, according to the Forest Service. The road is currently gated and a road closure sign explains the hazards.
Although the area is accessible by boat and by crossing Idaho Power property, the company is asking that the public steer clear until next year. The fire destroyed trees, grasses and shrubs, creating ideal conditions for soil erosion. Our crews have removed burned fences and participated in replanting efforts.
“We know the area is popular with hunters of upland game birds, and some people may be disappointed by the closure,” said Brett Dumas, environmental supervisor for Idaho Power. “If the vegetation is allowed to remain undisturbed over the next few months, the habitat can recover more quickly, and will become good hunting territory again.”
The Weiser Complex Fire began Aug. 29 with a lightning strike, roughly 20 miles northwest of Midvale. It burned nearly 29,500 acres before being contained on Sept. 13.