foredune at Siuslaw south

Sand blowing off the beach can get caught in the foredunes, sometimes forming a dense grass habitat as shown here at the Siuslaw River Beach area. 

SOUTH COAST — Parts of the Coos County Forest and Siuslaw National Forest reopened Friday, according to information from the National Forest Service and Coos County Board of Commissioners.

All areas of county-owned forest lands opened to non-motorized recreation at 10 a.m., the board said. Driving on county forest roads is still prohibited, as is smoking outside of vehicles and establishing campfires.

The reopening comes as fire danger in the forest is slightly improved due to lower temperatures and high humidity, though fire danger in the area remains high.

County parks remain open, though campfires are still prohibited. Riley Ranch County Park is open with access to the Oregon Dunes, which reopened in part Friday as well.

In the national forest, certain sites in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area opened at noon, according to a release from the National Forest Service, though many sites will remain closed due to downed trees and other safety hazards which came from historic windstorms this month.

The general forest area, and many forest roads, will reopen. In the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, dispersed use will be permitted, and some developed campsites will be open.

The Forest Service will maintain a list of open sites, and visitors are asked to confirm their desired sites are open before leaving home by calling a Siuslaw National Forest office or checking the conditions report at https://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/siuslaw/recreation.

Throughout the forest, campfires and the use of other possible ignition sources will still be prohibited due to high fire danger, according to the release. Fires under those conditions could start from any cause and may become serious, according to Forest Service information.

"It was a historic confluence of events that necessitated closing the forest last week," Forest Supervisor Robert Sanchez said in the release.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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