Wildfire in Mount Jefferson Wilderness spoils some solar eclipse - KPTV - FOX 12

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Wildfire in Mount Jefferson Wilderness spoils some solar eclipse plans

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Photo: Oregon National Guard Photo: Oregon National Guard
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

With the countdown to the eclipse entering its final days, some people headed to the path of totality are trying to figure out a different plan due to Oregon wildfires. 

The Whitewater Fire burning near Mt. Jefferson sits in prime eclipse viewing territory. The fire has forced the closure of the entire Mt. Jefferson Wilderness through the eclipse.

Christina Thomas of Albany was planning to hike into that area to watch the eclipse with friends. They wanted to take in the natural beauty the wilderness has and watch a rare event all at the same time.

Thomas told FOX 12 Wednesday they were hoping to get some spectacular photos of the mountain and the eclipse. 

“I wouldn’t say it is frustrating," Thomas said. "Just sad to see our forest burning.”

Since the closure was put in place they're planning to head elsewhere.

“We’re going to try and leave earlier in the week and come back a little bit later," Thomas said.

Jesse Gooden has a similar story to tell.

Gooden along with other friends from Washington and California were planning to head into the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. 

“That wilderness has that great big expanse, it has open fields and open meadows," Gooden said. “It was really sad for me to have to tell the guys from California, we’ve been planning this and now there are just so many fires and so much detour.”

Gooden adds he doesn't mind the closure and understands why it was done. His fear, along with emergency managers, is that people visiting the forest for the eclipse will spark even more wildfires. 

“There is going to be so much going on with fire crews and the National Guard," Gooden said. "Everybody else trying to fight the fire. We don’t need 30,000 extra people that are just visiting.”

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