Update, Aug. 27, 3:45 p.m. 

The fire is now 2,775 acres, and a 30 acre spot fire has started on the opposite side of the White River upstream from Keep's Mill Campground, neat milepost 30 

There are three Type 1 crews, 12 Type 2 crews, three Type 1 (large) and 1 Type 3 (light) helicopters assigned to the fire. There are currently 543 personnel on the fire, with four more crews arriving today.  Management of the fire will transition on Saturday from NWIIMT 9 (Goff) to PNW IIMT3 (Livingston), a Type 1 incident management team.

"Today, a relatively stable weather pattern will prevail through Friday with warm and dry conditions. There will be some increase in the winds in the afternoon, but night and early morning winds will be terrain driven.  Relative humidity will be low during the day, with moderate recovery at night," said a press release from Oregon Department of Forestry's Incident Command. 

"Fire crews will continue to scout, evaluate, and implement primary control line options and evaluate and implement alternative opportunities.  They will continue firing operations as conditions allow.  They will identify and secure spot fires, and monitor fire perimeter." 

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect prohibiting people from flying in the area, and the Mt. Hood National Forest plans to increase the closure area around the fire, said the press release. For the latest closure information and specifics on closed campgrounds, recreation areas, trails and roads, see https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/7013 /

The Wasco County Sheriff has extended the Level 1 "Be Ready" evacuation alert to addition areas as of Wednesday night, Aug. 26:

  • The area east from Bear Springs Ranger Station along Hwy 216 through Pine Grove to the intersection of Endersby Rd and 216, also included are all of Endersby Rd, Linns Mill Rd and Kelly Springs Rd.
  • All residences on Smock Road west of the intersection of Smock Road and Ayres Road to include all residences on Barber Lane and Farlow Road.
  • The "Be Ready" notice will remain in place for Sportsman’s Park.

Update, Aug. 26, 2:30 p.m. 

The White River Fire grew yesterday to approximately 2,290 acres based on information received by Oregon Department of Forestry's (ODF) Incident Command late last night.

Northwest winds were amplified as they aligned with the White River drainage increasing fire activity and creating many embers which flowed downwind and started spot fires in the receptive dry vegetation, and in places, fire torched individual or small groups of trees and spread treetop to treetop, according to an Incident Command press release.

 

 The fire moved approximately 2.5 miles east/southeast staying north of the White River. It grew into flatter terrain with less vegetation and where Incident Command says there is more opportunity to contain the fire than on the slopes of the White River canyon to the west.

"Due to dry northwest winds over the upcoming days and yesterday’s fire growth, fire managers have reassessed planned containment and have brought in additional firefighters and fire managers to implement the plan," said the press release. 

Three new firefighting crews arrived late yesterday, adding to the 447 complement of personnel. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect prohibiting people from flying in the area. 

"On the north side of the fire, firefighters will continue the same work they have been doing," said the press release. "They will be preparing for low intensity firing along Forest Road 48, firing as conditions allow, preparing and securing fire lines, patrolling and securing spot fires, and monitoring the fire perimeter along the White River on the south side of fire.

Fire managers will continue to review firefighting plans, keeping firefighter and public safety as their first priority, said the press release. Firefighters have been asked to watch for rolling material, burned roots on green trees, and spot fires that have not been detected. 

White River Fire Closures An area closure takes effect today for an area that includes the fire and extended areas outside of the fire.

See a list of road, recreation area, and trail closure at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7013/53534/ Evacuations The Wasco County Sheriff has determined that additional or elvated evauations are not necessary.

As of August 26 at 11 a.m., the Level 1 evacuation (Ready) remains in effect for the Sportsmans Park and Rock Creek areas.

 

Update, Aug. 25, 3 p.m. 

A pilot died in a helicopter accident in the Mt. Hood National Forest on Monday, Aug. 24, while helping fellow firefighters battle the White River Fire. 

The helicopter in question was a Type 1 Kmax that was conducting bucket drops on the White River Fire, which was burning in rough terrain, according to a press release from Incident Command. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Forest Service air and ground resources responded immediately to the accident site, said the press release, and there will be an investigation into the accident. 

"The firefighting community is heartbroken to learn of this tragic loss and our condolences go out to the pilot's family, friends, and co-workers," said the press release. 

As of press time, the fire was 1,266 acres and 15 percent contained. 

For more information, visit inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7013/ or email whiteriverfire2020@gmail.com

 

Original article, Aug. 24, 5 p.m. 

The White River Fire southeast of Mt. Hood is currently 1,102 acres, at about five percent containment, with 304 personnel working the fire.

Fire managers said that securing lines and bringing fire to the lines will take several days. They are coordinating with local agencies to protect forest, cultural and scenic resources. Much of the smoke that is visible in nearby communities could be from the White River Fire or from other fires in the Pacific Northwest. Firefighters are watching for spot fires outside control lines.

The fire is at 3,700 feet, 13 miles southeast of Government Camp in the White River drainage near Forest Road 48. The closest community is Sportsman’s Park which is 8 miles to the east. The fire lies on the southern aspect of the drainage with White River at the bottom of the fire and Forest Road 48 at the top of the fire.

Crews continue to prepare for low intensity firing operations along the east and west ends of the fire toward the White River. Along the north side, they continue to remove unburned fuels between Highway 48 and the main fire. Firing operations will continue in these areas as conditions allow, fire officials said in an email.

The river is in a steep canyon and difficult to reach. Crews are putting in hand line on the west side of the fire between the 48 road and the river.

Temperatures are predicted to be in the 80s, relative humidity 17-22 percent, and winds from the south during the day, changing to the northwest in the late afternoon and evening. Wind speeds forecasted at 5-6 mph in the valley and 5-10 mph on the ridge tops.

Low intensity firing operations are often used in fire management. If planned and executed correctly they can control the fire, reduce suppression costs, and protect cultural and natural resources. Fire managers are using low intensity fire to secure lines on the White River Fire, a strategy that will take several days.

Monday, the fire was likely to be active with temperatures of 77-82 degrees and west winds of 7 to 15 mph. Ridge top wind gusts are likely to increase this afternoon. Firefighters will watch for possible short runs up steep slopes where slope and wind align. They will also watch for and secure spot fires.

On the south side of the fire along the White River, firefighters will monitor the perimeter using aircraft and lookouts to detect any spot fires that may occur south of the river.

Closures are in effect in these areas: Crane Creek, Crane Prairie, Boulder Lake, Forest Creek, Hidden Meadows, Bonney Meadows, Threemile, and all of the Rock Creek OHV Area.

Recreation site closures: White River Station, Forest Creek, Keeps Mill, Boulder Lake, Little Boulder Lake, Post Camp, Camp Windy Bonney Meadows, Post Point OHV Staging Area, Gate Creek OHV Staging Area, Barlow Crossing, Rock Creek Campground and day use area.

Road closures: 4410/3550 jnctn; Bennet Pass snopark (3550); 48/4890 junction; 43/3530 junction; 43/3530-230; 35/48 junction; 4890/4891 junction; 48/4880 junction; 3530/3530-230; 2710/2710/160; 4810 just northwest of Camp Cody; 48 just south of Rock Creek Reservoir CG; 4820 just west of Rock Creek Reservoir CG; all class 3 road barricades unless otherwise noted.

The Wasco County Sheriff has posted a Level 1 Evacuation notice for Sportsman Park and the Rock Creek area; visit www.facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff/posts/1837027263105452.

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