A column of smoke towered over Mt. Jefferson Friday as the Waterfalls 2 Fire burned actively once again, in spite of the light winds. The easterly breeze caused smoke to pour over the Cascades and into the Santiam Valley, impacting much of northwest Oregon on Friday, even though the fire stayed mostly within the established lines.
“It was the perfect burnout operation,” said Operations Chief Ray Weiss, “and we didn’t light a single match.” Weiss said the area that burned was targeted for ignition in today’s scheduled burnout operations, so it helped firefighters to meet the overall strategy to contain the blaze.
Also on Friday, dozers, engines, and crews successfully corralled Thursday night’s escaped fire along the northeast edge near North Butte .Some spot fires remain, but have been kept from spreading by helicopter water drops.
Eight additional crews arrived Friday to help fight the fire. Five of the crews have traveled across the country from their home states of Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Another of the new crews, a Type One hand crew, is a unique group formed by smokejumpers from Redmond, Oregon who will be tasked with building line to secure the fire on the northwest side in the especially challenging ground near Harvey Lake and Lake Sarah. The addition of these crews has increased the number of personnel working on the Waterfalls 2 Fire to 720.
The Pacific Crest Trail and most of the Olallie Lake Recreation area are open, but PCT hikers complained of dense smoke and ash on Friday. PCT hikers are not allowed to camp between Jefferson Park and Monon Lake. Smoke descended on Olallie Lake during part of the day Friday, but skies were clearing by 6 p.m. A light haze is reported this morning, with visibility of three-to-ten miles. Horseshoe Lake and Breitenbush Lake remain closed, as does Forest Road 4220 from Monon Lake south and west to Forest Road 46. Trails to Gibson Lake, Horseshoe Lake, and Ruddy Hill also remain closed.
Closures remain unchanged on the Warm Springs Reservation.
Additional fire information, closure details, maps, and photos are available on the fire website: www.inciweb.org/incident/3165.