PUBLIC LANDS -- Several vehicles have slid off icy roads in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests causing officials to consider locking gates on a few roads until conditions change. Here's the media release just posted by the IPNF:
Despite the lack of snow at lower elevations many forest roads throughout north Idaho are coated in a thick layer of ice resulting in multiple slide-offs and accidents. Forest Service officials are urging members of the public to avoid traveling on icy forest roads, but if travel cannot be avoided, tire chains and low speeds are strongly advised.
The weather’s recent freeze/thaw cycle has melted snow on hillsides during the day, which is re-freezing across forest roads at night. During the weekend of January 4, 2014 multiple accidents were reported due to vehicles sliding off forest roads. Some of the most common areas for accidents were along the Bunco Road and Nettleton Gulch where even emergency vehicles and tow trucks responding to slide-offs slid off the road.
Forest officials are monitoring the situation and may temporarily close gates in areas where large amounts of ice are present or areas with a significant number of vehicle accidents. Before traveling into the forest members of the public are encouraged to check weather forecasts and local conditions. During winter months chains and other safety equipment should always be carried, and travelers should be prepared to turn back based on conditions. For more information on road conditions on your national forest, please contact your local Forest Service office.