Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Release Date: Aug 10, 2017  

Yesterday’s Fire Growth: Increase in acreage resulted from strategic firing operations that helped to manage the fire’s intensity and secure fire lines.

  • Approximate Size: 5,844 acres
  • Containment:  0%
  • Incident Commander: Eric Knerr
  • Resources on Fire
    • Crews: 18
    • Helicopters: 6
    • Masticators: 7
    • Engines: 19
    • Water Tenders: 11
    • Dozers: 5
    • Personnel: 665

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: Firefighters will continue to conduct a series of firing operations to methodically and strategically manage the fire’s rate of spread and intensity.  These firing operations will reinforce containment lines by removing fuel sources from the area using an approach that accomplishes suppression objectives while lessening impacts to natural resources in the long term.

Firing operations will take place in the later part of the day when conditions are favorable for managing fire intensity and help to minimize spotting potential.  Incident Commander Eric Knerr explains, “The purpose of firing operations is to put our team on the offensive as we manage the fire. We want to control the fire on our own terms, not the other way around; firing operations allow us to do that.” Aviation resources will remain in place to oversee these operations and provide water to manage fire intensity.

Weather and Fire Behavior: Fire meteorologists predict hot and dry temperatures to continue, with a red flag warning in place for the area. Temperatures in the mid-90s and winds coming out of the east this morning will support fire activity early in the day.  Afternoon winds out of the northwest may contribute to aggressive fire behavior and spread this afternoon.

Smoke Forecast­: Widespread smoke from multiple fires in the northwest is impacting the Central Oregon area. Smoke from the Whitewater fire will affect the communities of Detroit, Marion Forks and Idanha. 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/