Boaters planning to launch on the Deschutes River for the Labor Day weekend may need to rethink their plans after a wildfire forced BLM officials to close the river to rafters and anglers on Tuesday afternoon.
The BLM announced today that it was closing the entire Segment 1 of the river from Warm Springs to Harpham Flat just upstream of Maupin after the Razorback Fire jumped the river near Redside on Saturday night and has covered 15 miles since then, burning north and east.
Late Tuesday, the BLM determined that due to fires the river was no longer safe for boaters or firefighters. The BLM is routing boaters who have already purchased a pass to Segment 2 below Maupin. No refunds are being offered and the river remains closed until further notice.
In other fire-related news, the DEQ issued a health advisory for Central Oregon cities on Tuesday. The department urged residents to use caution as more smoke moves into the area. The department didn’t have immediate information on air quality, but noted that samples taken over the weekend showed that air in Bend had reached levels deemed to be “unhealthy” by DEQ. In Madras, particulate pollution reached levels more than double what is considered to be unhealthy over the weekend. The agency advised people in the most affected areas to avoid prolonged contact by remaining indoors and using air filtering systems and to avoid strenuous outdoor activity. Those with respiratory issues or otherwise sensitive immune systems should take additional precautions.