Highway 20 back open; More fires reported in the region | Bent | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

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Highway 20 back open; More fires reported in the region

With one lane open, officials say it could be slow going


Highway 20 at the Santiam Pass is back open this morning, after the Oregon Department of Transportation closed it last night due to wildfire.

Here's the update we received from ODOT this morning:

"One lane is open on U.S. 20 between mileposts 75 to 88 with two way traffic being flagged with a pilot car. Travelers should expect delays going over the Santiam Pass after a wildfire closed the pass late Tuesday."

A screenshot of the air quality index for Bend as of 8 am Wednesday. - AQICN.ORG
  • AQICN.org
  • A screenshot of the air quality index for Bend as of 8 am Wednesday.

Meanwhile, here's an update on the fires burning throughout the region, from Central OR Fire Info late Tuesday:

"Several new fires were reported today across Central Oregon. Two new fires were found south of Lava Butte and triggered the evacuation of the Lava River Cave and Lava Lands Visitor Center in the Deschutes National Forest just south of Bend. One of the fires is fully lined and currently being mopped up and is estimated at two acres. The second fire is less than two acres and crews are still working on containing several spots that were estimated at ¼ to a ½ acre.

The McKay Fire, located east of Hwy 97 and north of FS 21 near McKay Butte, was also reported today. This fire is currently estimated at 120 acres and is being managed by a Type 3 Incident Commander. Firefighters are requesting that the public stay out of the fire area between Forest Service roads 9735 and 9720. There are currently 12 engines, 2 dozers, 2 IA Crews, and 2 water tenders working on this fire for a total of 110 personnel.

Fire crews also assisted Walker Range Rural Fire Protection Association on a new fire today, 10 miles south of La Pine near Hwy 97. The fire is contained at approximately 1.5 acres.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level One (pre-evacuation) notification for the Elk Lake Area due to the Nash Fire, burning in the Willamette National Forest. The Nash Fire and the Separation Fire have showed active fire behavior over the past two days and are believed to have grown together. The following areas in the Level One are as follows: Elk Lake Resort, Elk Lake Campground (CG), Point CG, Little Fawn CG, Mallard Marsh CG, Sunset View Day Use Area, Beach Day Use Area, and Quinn Meadows Horse Camp. Currently, the Cascade Lakes Hwy, FS 46, remains open.

Level One (pre-evacuation) means “Be Ready” for potential evacuation."

In regards to the Milli Fire west of Sisters, fire crews had this to say:

"Smoke​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Whitewater​ ​Fire​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Willamette​ ​National​ ​Forest​ ​and​ ​several​ ​other​ ​fires​ ​is​ ​coming​ ​into​ ​the​ ​Milli​ ​Fire​ ​area. A few new starts were reported this afternoon on the Bend - Fort Rock District of the Deschutes National Forest.

Westerly​ ​winds​ ​yesterday​ ​moved​ ​the​ ​fire​ ​into​ ​established​ ​containment​ ​lines​ ​including​ ​the​ ​burnout​ ​area​ ​as​ ​expected.​ Unburned fuel in the Wilderness and along OR 242 near the lava fields produced some smoke as they were consumed today.
Crews​ ​accessed​ ​the​ ​area​ ​northwest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fire​ ​to​ ​mop-up​ ​the​ ​spot​ ​fire​ ​and​ ​patrol​ for other spots. The 2 acre spot fire is contained.

Good​ ​progress​ ​was​ ​made​ ​on​ ​the​ ​final​ ​segment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​eastern​ ​perimeter.​ ​Crews were able to access the Whychus Canyon after overhead hazards were removed. Engine crews will continue to patrol the southern and eastern edges of the fire.
Night​ ​operations​ ​concluded​ ​last​ ​night.​ ​Firefighters who previously worked the night shift will be transitioned to day operations.

There​ ​have​ ​been​ ​significant​ ​changes​ ​in​ ​air​ ​quality​ ​during​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​Concentration​ ​levels​ ​increased​ ​to​ ​Very​ ​Healthy.​ ​Expect Very Unhealthy to Hazardous air quality this evening through tomorrow morning."

To check the latest air quality ratings for Bend, visit: 


About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. While the pandemic reduced "hobbies" to "aspirations," you can mostly find her raising chickens, walking dogs, riding all the bikes and attempting to turn a high desert scrap of land into a permaculture oasis. (Progress: slow.)

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