A 300-acre wildfire near Whychus Creek has closed the Alder Springs Trailhead near Crooked River Ranch. The Oregon Department of Forestry said the fire, which was spotted around 2 p.m. yesterday was burning east toward Crooked River Ranch and several private ranches. In addition to the trailhead, fire response teams have closed Road 6360 as they coordinate the response. Cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Update: Fire managers pegged the Alder Springs fire at roughly 650 acres yesterday evening with the flames reaching to within roughly 1/2 mile of the Deschutes River on the eastern boundary. According to the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center, no structures have been lost as a result of the blaze, which is moving through a mix of grasslands, brush and timber. However, the fire continues to pose a threat to several ranches to the east as well as the Crooked River Ranch community.
It's worth noting that fire erupted just a matter of weeks after the Oregon Natural Desert Association announced its intention to ask Congress to designate more than 18,000 acres around the Alder Springs area as a federal wilderness. The proposal was met with strong opposition from neighbors, many of whom said that their primary concern was the ability to fight wildfire.