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Fire-break work means pilot car on Cascade Lakes Highway

Starting Friday; smoke from Whitewater Fire seen

BEND, Ore. - Traffic on a portion of the Cascades Lake Highway near Elk Lake will be restricted to one lane with a pilot car, starting on Friday, to assure firefighter and public safety while crews fell trees to create a fire break, officials said Wednesday.

Lane restrictions are expected to be in place through at least Sunday, but a longer period could be necessary, Willamette National Forest officials said.

Firefighters assigned to the Horse Creek Complex fires, which include the Nash and Separation Fires on the Willamette forest, are working along the roadway to clear a 300-foot fire break. 

Trees are being felled and decked in the area. Heavy equipment and trucks are parked along and in the highway. In addition, visibility may be limited due to smoke in the area.

Officials said the public should expect sporadic travel delays, limited visibility due to smoke and increased traffic from firefighting efforts along this portion of the Cascade Lakes Highway. 

There has not been much change in the perimeter pf the 6,576-acre Nash Fire during the last few days, officials said. It is still burning close to the edge of Nash Lake and remains about four miles from Elk Lake.

Crews and heavy equipment working along the highway are removing dense vegetation and thinning trees to create the fuel break and expect to finish in 5 to 7 days.

The fuel break is being constructed to protect the Elk and Lava lakes areas and to halt fire spread to the east, in the event the fire moves over the Cascade Crest

For more information on the Nash Fire or any other fires in the Horse Creek Complex, call (541) 719-8371.

Meanwhile, Central Oregon fire officials said residents looking toward the Cascades Wednesday afternoon might be seeing more smoke around Mt. Jefferson. This is not a new fire; crews working the 11,046-acre Whitewater Fire, now 33 percent contained, were reporting increased activity with the afternoon winds.

Officials said the 24,025-acre Milli Fire southwest of Sisters remains 60 percent contained, and is still active on the interior and west side.

The Hampton fire in the Cougar Wells Wilderness Study Area, six miles northeast of Hampton and 60 miles southeast of Bend, has been 100 percent contained at 840 acres, officials said.

The latest info on large fires around Oregon can be found at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/38/


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