Wildfire burning in steep, rough terrain leads to closures along - KPTV - FOX 12

Wildfire burning in steep, rough terrain leads to closures along Eagle Creek Trail

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COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE, OR (KPTV) -

At the Eagle Creek Trail, hikers are greeted by not one but two signs warning of a closure up the trail because of a wildfire.

Most day hikers, though, didn’t go far enough for the closure to affect them.

Deeper into the trail system, about 8 miles in, the Indian Creek Fire is burning in seven to eight acres of wilderness right next to a popular trail for backpackers.

“Most of the really popular sites that a lot of people go, like Punchbowl Falls, which is about two miles in, you can still hike that part of Eagle Creek,” U.S. Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Rachel Pawlitz explained. “But if you’re planning a backpacking trip on Eagle Creek, you’re definitely going to at some point encounter this closure.”

Along with the main trail, four other trails around the fire are also closed, but the popular Pacific Crest Trail is still open. Pawlitz said the crews are working hard to bring the blaze under control.

“The Forest Service has people on the ground,” she said. “They’re working with a helicopter, which is dropping water on it.”

On a warm summer day at Eagle Creek, most hikers were far enough removed from the fire not to think much about it, but with more warm weather on the way, wildfire season has officially arrived.

 “It’s summer, and it will get hot, and it will start getting dry,” Pawlitz said.

According to the Forest Service, the fire is burning in steep and rough terrain and is not contained. Because of that terrain and how hard it is for firefighters to work in, the agency says it could be a couple weeks before it's out and the trails are back open.

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