Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Release Date: Aug 2, 2017   Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

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


Yesterday’s Fire Growth: The Whitewater Fire grew to 1,500 acres last night, crossing the Jefferson Wilderness boundary near the Whitewater Trail. Receptive fuels, east winds, low humidity and high temperatures fueled the fire’s expansion.

  • Approximate Size: 1,500 acres
  • Fire Containment: 10%
  • Resources on the Fire:
    • Crews: 3
    • Helicopters: 5
    • Masticators: 5
    • Engines: 1
    • Water Tenders: 10

Location: The Whitewater Fire is actively burning in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and the Willamette National Forest, near the Whitewater Creek Trail, 20 miles east of Detroit, Oregon. The Incident Command Post, located at the Hoodoo Ski Resort, is closed to non-fire traffic.

Today’s Operations: As a result of last night’s active fire behavior, today’s operations will utilize aviation resources, such as helicopters and retardant planes, to slow fire spread and contain lines. Crews and heavy equipment continue to prepare containment lines on the Southern and Western flanks of the fire. Fire managers continue to scout containment opportunities using existing road systems. Instability in the atmosphere and its effect on fire behavior, presents today’s primary concern.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Low humidity and high winds contributed to increased fire activity and high levels of spread westward last night. “All the ingredients for extreme fire behavior are present today,” said Steve Zeil, fire behavior analyst for Team 7. Meteorologists have issued a red flag warning, predicting temperatures up to 100 degrees, humidity levels at 9-13% and ridge top wind gusts up to 20 mph.

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.