Halsey Forest Closure Update: Not Smoke, But Sand

Halsey Forest Closure Update: Not Smoke, But Sand
A map of the current Halsey Forest closure.

HALSEY – The Bessey Ranger District has indicated that parts of Halsey National Forest will remain closed until the end of November due to Bovee Fire mop-up operations.

According to Amanda Medaries of the district, the area’s closures are not as extensive as one might think, given the magnitude of the week-long fire. “As of right now, the only things that are technically ‘closed’ are the main entrance and the Bessey campground. Natick and Whitetail are open.”

The forest’s west entrance remains open, though due to fire damage, a visit won’t be a proverbial walk in the park, Medaries cautions. “It is a little rocky, so we do recommend four-wheel drive. It’s a little shaky that way, but it can be done.”

The park remains open to hunters, and with various game seasons either underway or fast-approaching, the Bessey Ranger District is doing all it can to keep as much of the forest open and accessible as possible.

Those excluded from activities in Halsey need not despair; Medaries offers some wonderful alternatives. “We have been steering people toward Pine Ridge Ranger District in Chadron. They have some OHV trails.”

The fire remains contained, though it is not completely controlled. Winds and exceptionally hot weather have kept what remains of the Bovee Fire burning, though further spread remains unlikely.

Reports of smoke rising from around Halsey in the past two days are mostly false, the Bessey Ranger District says; it is sand whipped up by extreme winds, though an ash tree was extinguished on a hillside along Highway 2.

A map of the closed area is attached; the Bessey Ranger District is hoping to reduce the closed area in the next couple weeks.