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ODFW's Elkhorn Wildlife Area to conduct habitat enhancement; minimal impacts to recreation access

September 14, 2023

NORTH POWDER, Ore. – Joint prescribed fire operations between ODFW, the U.S. Forest Service, and Oregon Department of Forestry are planned to begin this fall. The initial prescribed burn unit includes approximately 200 acres within the North Powder Tract of Elkhorn Wildlife Area and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

Operations will occur as conditions allow which is typically early to mid-fall. Completion is expected by Nov. 2023 for the initial unit. A collaborative agreement is in place to complete approximately 1,100 additional acres between 2024 and Dec. 2027.

Public access to all other portions of the wildlife area and adjacent Forest Service lands will remain open during the project including the Anthony Creek campground.

Hunters are advised to plan ahead, check for road and trail closures, and avoid camping in designated prescribed burn areas during the 2023 hunting season.

For an overview and unit map of the prescribed fire area, visit:

The public is asked to take caution when in the area. Smoke may cause reduced visibility and there will be an increase in fire crews using nearby roads and trails to access the fire.

Managers also advise visitors to be cautions when recreating in burned areas. Trees may be unstable and fall or drop large branches especially during high winds. Rocks and other debris can also be unstable and roll downhill, fall out from under a hiker's boot or the weight of an ATV. The ground itself may be unstable due to burned roots and a lack of ground vegetation.

This year's project is the first of several planned units in the area. In total, the project area is approximately 1,300 acres. Prescribed fire is a management activity used to enhance habitat for elk, deer, and other wildlife species and improve forest stand health.

Work being done at Elkhorn Wildlife Area is part of the East Face Project; a joint collaborative with the Forest Service, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and ODF.

The East Face Project was identified as an opportunity to address forest health and protect state, private and federal forest lands from potential catastrophic fire. Work will be focused along the joint western boundary of North Powder Tract and the National Forest boundary.

Operations will provide increased forage production for deer and elk, create snags and cavity habitat while also protecting Oregon Conservation Strategy habitats such as aspen woodlands and ponderosa pine forest.

ODFW's wildlife area staff are responsible for the management, operation, and maintenance of the property. Elkhorn is part of a working landscape where livestock grazing and timber harvest assist with habitat management goals.

For general information about Elkhorn Wildlife Area, visit:


Contact: Dan Marvin, ODFW, (541) 898-2826,
Walter Lowell, USFS, (541) 523-1271,
Molly Johnson, (541) 805-4724,
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