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Friday, July 28, 2017

07/28/2017 Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

Contact: Marcus Kauffman, 541-580-7480,
Date: July 28, 2017

Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness

(Detroit, OR) The Whitewater Fire has grown slightly to 89 acres. Today, fire crews on the ground will continue to strengthen existing fire lines with aid from helicopter water drops. Due to rocky cliffs and variable terrain in the fire area, containment remains at 15 percent.

“I want to thank all the crews and helicopter pilots. They have done an amazing job adapting to the difficult conditions and a tough work environment,” said Type 3 Incident Commander trainee Eric Risdal. “Each morning, the fire crews have hiked three to four miles through the wilderness to reach fire lines. Attitudes have been positive and we’ve had an excellent safety record so far.”

Fire managers are modifying tactics to ensure protection of Forest Service land and private land holdings. “We want to make sure we’re staying ahead of this fire, so we’re making large scale fire contingency plans now,” continued Risdal. “We have released some of the firefighters and are bringing in heavy equipment to reduce fuels along road systems next to Whitewater Creek outside of the Mt. Jefferson wilderness.

The Type 3 team will hand off management of the fire to a Type 2 Incident Management Team on Monday morning and fire camp will be established at the Hoodoo Ski Area. The team transition is occurring due to potential growth of the fire driven by warmer forecasted temperatures.

The previous trail closures remain in place. The closed trails are:
·         Whitewater Trail #3429 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
·         Cheat Creek Trail #3441 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Triangulation Tr. #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 to the terminus at the Triangulation Trail #3373.

In addition Forest Service Road 2243 (off of Highway 22) is closed just past the Cheat Creek Trailhead to avoid potential conflicts with fire traffic.

The trails and road will remain closed to protect public and fire fighter safety until further notice.

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The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

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