Central Oregon

Fires force 31-mile closure of Lower Deschutes

Blazes on both sides of the river move closer

DANT, Ore. - The Shaniko Butte Fire was very active on Wednesday, growing to about 18,000 acres – and the wind and fire never let up through the night.

Thursday morning, the fire made a run toward the Lower Deschutes River near the small community of Dant, and the west edge of the river.

In addition, the Ward Canyon Fire (formerly Incident #347), which caused the closure of Highway 97 north of Madras for a time late Wednesday, is now backing down toward the east side of the Deschutes River.

Current and expected fire conditions have forced fire officials to make the decision to close the river to all day and overnight use between Trout Creek (river mile 88.5) and Long Bend (river mile 57).

Fire officials said they will evaluate this closure on a day-by-day basis and will lift the closure when it is safe to do so.

Rafters can still float from Warm Springs to Trout Creek and can still use Segment 2 from Long Bend to Sandy Beach, as well as Segments 3 & 4 from Buckhollow to Heritage Landing at the mouth of the Columbia River.

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