New wildfire burns 65 acres in Mt. Jefferson Wilderness

Several trails closed due to Whitewater Fire

DETROIT, Ore. - A new wildfire has burned about 65 acres in the Whitewater Creek area of the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, Willamette National Forest officials said Monday.

A commercial plane flying over the area Sunday evening reported seeing smoke, officials said. Within minutes, the fire lookout on nearby Coffin Mountain located its source.

With breezy winds, high temperatures and low humidity, the fire grew to an estimated 65 acres as of 4 p.m. Monday, with crews staffing the fire and helicopters dropping buckets of water on it.

“We are closing several trails while we put out this fire,” said Detroit District Ranger Grady McMahan. “We have staff in Jefferson Park directing hikers to use certain trails. Hikers wanting to access Jefferson Park may use the South Breitenbush trail (3375) or the Woodpecker trail (3442), the Pacific Crest Trail (Trail 2000) remains open.”

The closed trails are:

·         Whitewater Trail #3429 is closed from its origin at Whitewater Trailhead to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.

·         Cheat Creek Trail #3441 is closed from its origin at Cheat Creek Trailhead to the junction with the Triangulation Trail #3373.

·         Triangulation Trail #3373 is closed from its junction with trail #3374 (near Triangulation Peak) to the terminus at Whitewater Trail #3429.

·         Crag Trail #3364 from its origin at Breitenbush Trailhead to the terminus at the Traingulation Trail #3373.

The fire is within the Mt Jefferson Wilderness near the crest of the Cascades and does not threaten communities or roads, officials said. However, its smoke is visible from Highway 22 and the communities of Marion Forks, Idanha and Detroit.

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