Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Release Date: Aug 4, 2017   Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

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


The Whitewater Fire is actively burning in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and adjacent forest lands, approximately 13 miles east of Detroit, Oregon. The Incident Command Post, located at the Hoodoo Ski Resort, is closed to non-fire traffic. The fire grew minimally yesterday due to an inversion, which kept fire activity low. The fire has backed down into the headwaters of the Breitenbush River and the Woodpecker drainage. Aircraft were unable to fly because of heavy smoke and limited visibility. 

  • Approximate Size: 4,800
  • Fire Containment: 0%
  • Resources on the Fire:
    • Crews: 3
    • Helicopters: 5
    • Masticators: 5
    • Engines: 8
    • Water Tenders: 6
    • Dozers: 8
    • Total Personnel: 257

Today’s Operations: Crews and equipment will continue to working on brushing road systems and building hand and dozer fire lines outside of the wilderness. These operations are occurring on the western and southern portions of the fire. If the inversion lifts today, helicopters will support the firefighting efforts. As a precaution, fire crews are conducting an initial assessment of structures in the Breitenbush area to prioritize the creation of defensible space.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Today’s temperatures will be slightly cooler, but fire activity is predicted to increase if the inversion lifts. Forecasters expect the inversion to lift around noon and winds to shift to the west. Afternoon westerly ridge and slope winds may align with drainages, ridges and slopes, and produce areas of active to extreme fire behavior. Potential fire behavior could include torching and crown fire activity.

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. A more extensive area closure in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and the surrounding forest lands is being developed.

The following road and trail closures are currently in effect:

  • 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.
  • 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.