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Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Contact(s): Fire Information: 503-867-7707

The Whitewater Fire is actively burning in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, approximately three miles up the Whitewater Creek Trail, 20 miles east of Detroit, Oregon.

  • Approximate size: 297 acres
  • Fire containment: 10%
  • Incident Commander: Eric Knerr
  • Resources on the fire: 3 crews, 5 helicopters, 5 masticators, 1 engine and 10 water tenders
  • Total personnel: 175

Fire Management: Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team 7, under the direction of Incident Commander (IC) Eric Knerr, is managing the fire. The Incident Command Post is located at the Hoodoo Ski Resort which is closed to non-fire traffic.

Today’s Operations: “Our objectives include confining the fire close as possible to the wilderness and protecting general forest and adjacent private forests,” said Eric Knerr, Incident Commander. Five helicopters will continue dropping water to slow the fire’s spread and douse any spot fires. Outside of the wilderness, crews and heavy equipment are being used to prepare contingency lines—reducing fuel along roadsides to use as firelines in the event the fire crosses the wilderness boundary.

Heavy Fire Traffic: The public is advised to use caution when traveling on Hwy 22 by milepost 60.5 (Whitewater Rd.) and milepost 80 (entrance to Hoodoo Ski Resort) due to heavy fire traffic.

Weather and Fire Behavior: The Incident Meteorologist is forecasting that “a ridge of usually strong high pressure is expected to bring very hot, dry and unstable conditions to the fire area today and the next couple of days. Temperatures at the fire line (elevation 5400’) will climb to the low 90s with very low humidity. These conditions are likely to drive increased fire behavior and fire growth.”

Road and Trail Closures: The fire team’s first priority is public and firefighter safety. The Willamette National Forest has closed all trail access points into Jefferson Park inside the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, including an 11-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The following road and trail closures are currently in effect (see map):

  • Whitewater Trail #3429 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
  • Cheat Creek Trail #3441 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Triangulation Trail #3373.
  • Triangulation Trail #3373 is closed from its junction with trail #3374 (near Triangulation Peak) to the terminus at Whitewater Trail #3429.
  • Crag Trail #3364 from its origin to the terminus at the Triangulation Trail #3373.
  • Pacific Crest Trail (#2000) North of Woodpecker Trail (#3442) to Breitenbush Lake. (see reroute map)
  • South Breitenbush Trail (#3375) East of Bear Point Trail (#3342) up to the PCT (#2000).
  • Forest Service Road 2243, Whitewater Rd. (at Highway 22) is closed to avoid conflicts with fire traffic.

For current updates visit https://go.usa.gov/xRnz7, or Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420/