Fires, Trail Closures Expand in Oregon
8/5 UPDATE: The wildfires indicated below continue to expand/develop. Check our Facebook page for the latest news and updates, or visit the InciWeb website. Our next update will be posted on Monday, 8/7. Stay safe!
This week’s extreme heat wave across the Northwest has fueled the wildfires currently burning in three locations along Oregon’s portion of the Pacific Crest Trail: Crater Lake, Mt. Jefferson and Eagle Creek. As of this morning (8/4), Crater Lake has expanded its closure area; Mt. Jefferson’s closure area is expected to increase later today or tomorrow; and campgrounds and more trails in upper Eagle Creek have been closed.
Scroll down for the latest info on these areas. We’ll continue to monitor these areas and provide more info, maps and detour info as it becomes available. For the most recent maps and detour info, click on over to this week’s conditions report. At the bottom you’ll find updated backcountry fire restriction info.
The Whitewater Fire, currently burning on the west side of Mt. Jefferson, has expanded significantly through this week. It now encompasses more than 4,800 acres, but spread has slowed in the last 24 hours; Jefferson Park is completely inaccessible. With the fire now moving into the Pamelia Lake area, the Forest Service is now looking at a wider trail closure to maintain hiker safety. PCTA is anticipating that this closure could get expanded to Minto Pass.
- CLOSED: PCT between Woodpecker Trail and Breitenbush Lake
PCTA is recommending that hikers avoid this area entirely, and thru-hikers should exit the trail at Santiam Pass. This creates a 39-mile gap, with no easy way around; transportation north is recommended. Currently, hikers are clear to proceed north from Breitenbush Lake.
In just the last few days, the Spruce Lake Fire exploded across the west side of Crater Lake National Park. It is now at more than 3,600 acres and is spreading in the direction of the caldera rim. This morning (8/4) the park closed West Rim Road and the Rim Trail. This now closes both normal PCT hiking routes:
- CLOSED: PCT between Dutton Creek and North Entrance Road
- CLOSED: Rim Trail between Discovery Point and Grouse Hill Junction
PCT hikers should plan to walk the long way around East Rim Drive and reconnect with the trail at North Entrance Road near Grouse Hill; or find transportation around the closure area.
The small Indian Creek Fire in the upper Eagle Creek Canyon continues to smolder and burn in steep underbrush, and has expanded slightly to 84 acres. This week the Forest Service expanded the closure to include nearby camp areas. The PCT remains open, and water can be obtained at Indian Springs.
- CLOSED: Indian Springs and Wahtum Lake campgrounds
- CLOSED: Eagle Creek Trail south of Wy’East Camp, Indian Springs Trail, Chinidere Cutoff Trail, Eagle Benson Trail, Tanner Butte Trail and the eastern portion of the Eagle Tanner Trail
PCT hikers should proceed through the Wahtum Lake corridor and continue to Cascade Locks by way of the Benson Plateau.
The following forest areas have banned backcountry and wilderness area campfires. Hikers can still use compressed gas and liquid fuel stoves, but should take extra care when cooking.
- Rouge River–Siskiyou National Forest — includes Cascade–Siskiyou Nat’l Monument, Soda Mtn Wilderness, Sky Lakes Wilderness.
- Crater Lake National Park – includes all backcountry camp locations; frontcountry campgrounds exempt.
- Umpqua and Winema National Forests – Mt. Thielsen Wilderness.
- Willamette National Forest – includes Oregon Cascades Rec Area, Diamond Peak, Three Sisters and Mt. Washington wilderness areas.
- Mt. Hood National Forest – expected soon; will include Mt. Hood and Hatfield wilderness areas and Bull Run Preserve.
Main photo: Smoke from the Spruce Lake Fire, near Crater Lake National Park, billows skyward. Photo by Richard Parrish, BLM; courtesy of InciWeb.