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Saturday, July 29, 2017

07/29/2017 Whitewater Fire Update

Whitewater Fire Update: Mt Jefferson Wilderness
(Detroit, OR) Expect the best, prepare for the worst –That is the motto guiding today’s efforts on the Whitewater Fire.  Heavy equipment will be moving into the Forest Service road 2243 system to begin creating fuel breaks by clearing roadside brush with masticators.  This will strengthen control lines by reducing fuels along the road system outside the wilderness.
“The strategy to fight the fire remains to protect wilderness characteristics. We will continue to monitor the steep cliffs south of the fire where it is too dangerous for firefighters to engage and we’ll focus our efforts on clearing fuels from adjacent road systems,” said Dave Johnson, Incident Commander of the South Cascades Interagency Type 3 Team. 
An infrared fly over of the fire on July 27, revealed that the fire is still very hot, and actively burning and torching trees.  The predicted warmer weather temperatures could increase the fire behavior.  Resources on the Whitewater Fire include:
· Three twenty-person Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews
· Two heavy, one medium and one light helicopters
· Five Masticators
· Three water tenders
· About 157 people are engaged in the firefighting effort.
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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Stefanie Gatchell
Acting Public Affairs Specialist
Forest Service
Willamette National Forest
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