The opening of hunting season is bringing more people into the area closed by the Cougar Fire, conflicting with the ongoing work of firefighters, a Boise National Forest news release stated Friday.
Although the fire is contained, it is still burning within its interior and is not controlled. Firefighters continue to patrol and rehabilitate the area. The fire burned more than 1,200 acres northeast of Cascade and about four miles west of Warm Lake.
The Cougar Fire area is the only portion of the Boise National Forest that is closed to hunting and recreational use, officials said.
“Use of this small area of closed public land during firefighting activities jeopardizes both firefighter and public safety,” said Mary Faurot, Cascade District Ranger. “Until the fire is declared controlled, the area will not be opened and I urge hunters to use other nearby open areas.”
Faurot added that traffic has increased on the Forest Roads 409 and 474, which have reopened to the public but are still being used by firefighters during the day. Drivers are asked to reduce speeds and be especially alert on those roads and on the Warm Lake Highway.