Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Release Date: Aug 9, 2017   Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

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


A map showing Whitewater Fire Road and Trail Closures in Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Yesterday’s Fire Growth: Moderate weather conditions on Tuesday kept the Whitewater Fire from significantly increasing in size for the third consecutive day.

  • Approximate Size: 5,580 acres
  • Containment:  0%
  • Incident Commander: Eric Knerr
  • Resources on Fire
  • Crews: 17
  • Helicopters: 6
  • Masticators: 8
  • Engines: 19
  • Water Tenders: 11
  • Dozers: 9
  • Personnel: 661

Location: The Whitewater Fire is burning in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness and adjacent forest lands, approximately 13 miles east of Detroit, Oregon. The Incident Command Post, located at Hoodoo Ski Resort, is closed to non-fire traffic.

Today’s Operations: Work continues on preparing forest roads west of the Whitewater Fire to act as firebreaks. The roads are located as near as one-quarter mile from the Whitewater Fire’s edge to more than a mile. Using the roads as firebreaks provides firefighters with good access for crews, engines and hose lays. The roads also make good escape routes, which improves firefighter safety.

Fire officials are evaluating when to begin burnout operations between the road system firebreaks and the Whitewater Fire’s western edge. The purpose of burning vegetation and dead woody material is to remove fuel between the Whitewater Fire’s natural edge and the firebreaks. The burnout operations may begin today if conditions are favorable.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Crews working along the ridgetops will have hot (82-90 degrees) and dry (16-25 percent RH) weather conditions. In the valleys, humidity will be higher and temperatures cooler, particularly in the morning. Smoke will be heaviest in the valleys. Wind speeds are expected to be less than 10 mph and the flow will be from the northeast. The chance of a thunderstorm is slightly higher today. Fire activity is expected to be relatively low today, due primarily to the calm winds. Thunderstorms, if they develop today, may cause sudden strong and erratic winds that could dramatically affect fire behavior.

Smoke Forecast: In the fire area, air quality has been deteriorating. The communities of Detroit, Marion Forks and Idanha are expected to experience the most smoke.  Check the Oregon Smoke Blog for more updates and other useful information:  http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

Area Closure: To protect public and firefighters safety, the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests have closed all trail access points into Jefferson Park inside the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, including a 28-mile stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail. The area closure also includes a portion of the Willamette National Forest west of the wilderness boundary and east of the town of Detroit. Individuals who have private lands within the closure, or leased lands, will be allowed to enter as long as it is safe to do so. For specific land closures, see the area closure order and map. 

The following trailheads are now closed:

Willamette National Forest: Bingham Ridge, Minto Mountain, Pamelia Lake, Woodpecker Ridge, Whitewater Creek, Cheat Creek, Triangulation Peak, Leone Lake, South Breitenbush and Crown Lake.

Deschutes National Forest: Bear Valley/Rockpile Lake, Cabot Lake, Jefferson Lake and Brush Creek.

Pacific Crest Trail: Approximately 30 miles of the trail is closed.

Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5420/37544/