Highway 97 reopens near Klamath Co. wildfire
Pilot car guided traffic for hours; small fire caught near La Pine
Several wildfires broke out around Central and south-central Oregon Wednesday afternoon, including one that closed Highway 97 in Klamath County for two hours, sending smoke across the road as it quickly grew to about 10 acres.
That fire, called the Military Fire, broke out around 1:30 p.m., burning in private timber and brush along the east side of the highway near milepost 219, about 16 miles south of Chemult.
Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Joe Smith said firefighters and other personnel from the Oregon Department of Forestry, U.S. Forest Service, local fire departments and two logging companies worked to contain it on the ground, while two retardant planes and a water-dropping helicopter assisted from the air.
OSP and ODOT closed the highway about six miles south of the intersection with Oregon Hwy. 138E (the East Diamond Lake Highway) which takes travelers to the north entrance of Crater Lake National Park.
About two hours later, a pilot car began leading traffic through the area in alternating directions The road was fully reopened later Wednesday night.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
Another fire that proved difficult to access burned about a quarter-acre at a campsite about a mile south of the Tetherow boat launch, along the Deschutes River near La Pine.
A helicopter helped several engine crews work to control the flames from Incident 323
Meanwhile, an electrical transformer blew north of Bend, sparking a small fire and briefly knocking out power to about 100 people.
It happened just east of Highway 97 off Deschutes Pleasant Ridge Road. Central Electric Cooperative officials said the power box malfunctioned shortly before 3 p.m., sending sparks into the dry grass beneath.
Two Bend fire engine crews responded and had the fire out quickly, having burned about 1/8 of an acre. Power was restored about an hour later.
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