Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Release Date: Aug 3, 2017  

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

Because of the high temperatures and low relative humidity yesterday the Whitewater Fire in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, approximately 13 miles east of Detroit, Oregon, increased to 4,579 acres, expanding primarily on the north and south flanks. The fire crossed the wilderness boundary at both Whitewater and Woodpecker creek. In the northern portion, the fire reached the Breitenbush River within the wilderness.

Containment efforts will be concentrating on the western and southern flanks of the fire today. Hand crews will be digging fire lines on inaccessible steep terrain, while heavy equipment will be clearing vegetation along existing roads to be utilized for containment lines. On the south flank, fire managers will be scouting for containment opportunities and beginning to prepare fire lines. Aviation resources will be available when the inversion lifts early this afternoon.

Today’s forecast continues to have all the ingredients for very active to extreme fire behavior. A red flag warning remains in effect and afternoon slope winds could produce very active fire spread. Today is predicted to be the hottest day of the week with temperatures in the low 100’s at lower elevations and 90’s on the fire. Potential fire behavior could include extended spotting, backing, torching and crown fires.

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.
  • The Incident Command Post, located at the Hoodoo Ski Resort, is closed to non-fire traffic.