(KMTR) -- Feelings of progress and optimism for fire crews in the Willamette National Forest
, as firefighters continue to “hold their own” fighting the Shadow Lake
fire in the Mt. Washington Wilderness of the Oregon Cascades. Meanwhile, drivers are being asked to stay cautious on the roads to Central Oregon
As of Friday night September 9th, 2011, fire crews estimate the Shadow Lake wildfire is burning across 6,700 hundreds of the Willamette and Deschutes National Forests.
Fire officials say they’ve met their goal of keeping the fire in the Mount Washington Wilderness, but they’re worried about the impact of smoke.
Friday morning, officials with close knowledge of the fire met during a press conference at the Willamette National Forest Office in Springfield.
They’ve chosen to fight the fire by making thick lines around it and letting flames burn out to those lines. Incident command says it’s too dangerous to send anyone in to the thick of the activity because of the amount of unstable, dead and downed materials.
So far, there’s no large threat to nearby water supplies like Clear Lake and Big Lake. Crews have evacuated campers near Big Lake though and closed a portion of the High Cascades Hunt area due to the fire.
While forest officials hope weather cooperates and they’re able to get relatively good containment on the flames in the next three days, they say one of the more present dangers right now is the smoke.
Drivers are being warned to watch out, expect delays and traffic slow down on Highway 126 between Springfield and Central Oregon, as heavy smoke could decrease visibility in pockets and stretches of the road.
“It's not at that extreme level where I want people to panic or something like that, it's our firefighters are doing an amazing job, all the agencies are working together, and I think we've been holding our own so far,” says Meg Mitchell, Forest Supervisor for the Willamette National Forest.
“People should plan ahead, expect smoke on their highways, and allow a little extra time,” says Mitchell.
Fire officials believe smoke is expected to stick around in the Cascades and Upper Willamette Valley through the weekend. Friday night, air quality in the Lane County area of the Willamette Valley was good, while Oakridge was rated as moderate.
Another lightning caused fire that’s causing concern for crews in the WNF is the “Substitute Fire,” burning on about 100 acres southeast of McKenzie Bridge.
For more information on the Shadow Lake Fire, click the following link: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2550/.
For more information on the Substitute Fire, click the following link: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2633/.