Cedar Creek Fire near Waldo Lake burning 500 acres, Willamette National Forest says | News


OAKRIDGE, Ore. — A new wildfire in the Willamette National Forest has forced emergency closures near the area of Waldo Lake.

The Willamette National Forest Service announced at about 4:30 p.m., August 3, that a wildfire is burning about 500 acres near Waldo Lake and 18 miles east of Oakridge. Forest Service officials are calling it the Cedar Creek Fire, and are advising hikers and other forest users to avoid using trails nearby. They said the fire is very active, and is moving north while giving off a large plume of smoke.

The Willamette National Forest Service says the fire was first seen as a small burn giving off smoke on Monday, August 1 while local crews were overloaded with up to 30 reported fires. Officials say a helicopter crew was sent to investigate on Tuesday, August 2, but did not rappel down to look closely due to treacherous terrain in the area. A nearby ground team reportedly went in to investigate, and determined the fire to be five acres in area at the time. Forest Service officials say a helicopter made water drops for most of Tuesday while a safe route to bring in more firefighters was established.

The Willamette National Forest Service said that earlier on Wednesday, August 3, the fire was estimated at 100 acres in area. Officials say that due to a series of mechanical failures in helicopters and safety issues related to the mountainous terrain the fire is burning in, an effective response was not able to be mounted on Wednesday.

Again, all hikers and forest users are advised to leave the area and avoid the trails near Waldo Lake. Officials say all trails on the west side of the lake are closed to the public. Officials say the fire was caused by a lightning strike.