Crews evacuating campers, closing roads as wildfire grows ‘signi - KPTV - FOX 12

Crews evacuating campers, closing roads as wildfire grows ‘significantly’ into Linn Co.

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Whitewater Fire (Photo: Willamette National Forest) Whitewater Fire (Photo: Willamette National Forest)

A wildfire burning for nearly two weeks grew “significantly” by Friday, according to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, leading to road closures and the evacuation of hikers and campers.  

The Whitewater Fire was first spotted in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area on July 23. Willamette National Forest workers report the cause was a previous lightning strike from June.

The fire had no containment on Friday and spread into Linn County. More than 250 personnel were involved in battling the fire.

Smoke is visible from Highway 22 and the communities of Marion Forks, Idanha, Detroit and Sister.

On Monday, all trail access into Jefferson Park was closed, including an 11-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail.

The fire had grown to 4,800 acres by Friday. It was 1,500 acres on Wednesday.

Crews have been unable to battle the fire using aircraft due to the heavy smoke and limited visibility blanketing the region.

The Linn County Search and Rescue Team assisted the U.S. Forest Service in evacuating hikers and campers Friday who may not have been aware of area closures due to the fire.

Linn County deputies also assisted with road closures in the area, including all roads off Highway 22 from Whitewater Road to Marion Lakes Road.

All trails were closed in that area, as well.

People were advised to avoid the area for their own safety.

Road and trail closures in effect Friday included:

  • Whitewater Trail #3429 from its origin to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
  • Cheat Creek Trail #3441 from its origin to the junction with the Triangulation Trail #3373.
  • Triangulation Trail #3373 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.

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