With the way the Whitewater Fire blew up last week, we can’t say we’re surprised to see this announcement come down. Now at more than 5,400 acres, and fueled by warm, dry weather, it was just a matter of time. This afternoon, Willamette National Forest gave the official word.
Willamette Forest Service Official Comment
The Willamette National Forest Service has announced that due to a combination of extreme fire conditions, explosive fire behavior and heavy smoke from a fire in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, all access to Mount Jefferson and Jefferson Park is closed and will remain closed through the August 21 total solar eclipse.
“We understand this is a disappointment to residents and visitors who looked forward to the opportunity to experience the eclipse in this area. Unfortunately, the risk is too great, and our highest responsibility must be visitor safety,” said Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck. “Fueled by the excessively hot conditions of the previous weeks, this fire has burned very erratically and some nights has moved more than a mile through thick forests.”
The area currently closed stretches from Minto Pass to Breitenbush Lake (OR mile 320–348; PCT mile 2,009–2,037). You can see the entire announcement here.
As much of a bummer as this is, it doesn’t completely close off the PCT in the eclipse’s Path of Totality. It’s still possible to catch the full eclipse in the northern portion of the path. This is currently from Breitenbush Lake to Timothy Lake. The trick is finding a place that’s not in the Green Tunnel, where views will be obstructed. For more info, visit our Eclipse Viewing Guide—and just omit the first three viewing locations. We’ll continue monitoring the situation and will post more news and info to help you get the best seat for catching this month’s solar spectacle.