Citations issued in closed areas of Columbia River Gorge

Citations issued in closed areas of the gorge

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. -- U.S. Forest Service officials say people are illegally bypassing barricades set up in the Columbia River Gorge. 

That’s why on Friday, they posted a stern warning online saying that law enforcement will be out patrolling, and they won't hesitate to issue citations if they find people in restricted areas.

Lidiana Soto, a fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service, said more people could be outdoors in the gorge this weekend due to the sunny weather.

The blockades that are already up aren’t stopping some people from going in despite the risks.

Soto said what people need to remember is that it's still dangerous in the areas affected by the Eagle Creek Fire. The flames scorched about 48,000 acres of land and there are still hot spots, not to mention the threat of debris and rockfalls.

“There’s a very real possibility of getting lost because in a lot of those steep areas the trail likely washed out and there's probably no marker,” said Soto.

While the closures may be a disappointment to sightseers, Soto said it’s for everyone’s safety.

“We wanted to make it very clear that your life isn't worth it. Your life and safety isn't worth it and also from our end we don't want to risk our firefighters and our emergency responders that would have to respond to any injury within the closure,” said Soto.

She said they've had people patrolling the trails and that's how they've nabbed people so far. This weekend will be no different

According to Soto, in total between 20-30 citations have been issued and each cost about $180 each.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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