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Wildfires close roads across Oregon

Hwy. 242, I-84 among those closed as fires rage

Fires cause road closures across state

BEND, Ore. - Along with blanketing Oregon in smoke, this fire season has also brought its fair share of road closures, pilot cars and temporary blockages to the region.

Highway 242, also known as the Old McKenzie Highway, has been closed since mid-August and it may stay that way, said ODOT Region 4 Business Manager Angela Miller.

"The decision was made to close it indefinitely as a result of the Milli Fire, because of ongoing fire activity and then cleanup that's going to be necessary as result of the fire," Miller said Wednesday.

With September upon us, and the twisting, scenic highway typically closing with the first heavy snowfall, chances for a reopening look slim.

"I mean, it's still burning right now, and there's miles of it that has been burned," she said.

"That's a lot of potentially hazardous trees, potentially hazardous limbs, a lot of dust and ash and trees that have to be evaluated, so it will take some time," she said.

But Highway 242 isn't alone.

Last week, Highway 20 had a pilot car guiding traffic through Santiam Pass because of the Potato Hill fire.

And the north entrance to Crater Lake National Park has been closed because of the Spruce Lake fire.

But, most recently, the Eagle Creek fire burning on the Columbia River Gorge shut down I-84 from Troutdale to 2 miles west of Hood River. Officials said Wednesday they don't know when it will reopen.

ODOT spokesman Dave Thompson said, "The roads are closed because it's not safe. The fire is burning right down to the road and in some cases on both sides of the road, I believe for some distance."

Officials said all closures are meant to keep drivers safe from fire and debris. 

For more information on up-to-date closures, you can check out our TripCheck page.


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