Central Oregon Wildfire Results In Closing of River To Rafters, Evacuees Allowed To Return Home

By Jim McCoy Tue 23rd July NewsDeschutes RiverGilchristwildfires
FIRE NEAR GILCHRIST A bulldozer dug a line around a wildfire threatening homes in a central Oregon town, and residents have been allowed to return. The fire broke out Monday afternoon near Gilchrist, which is along U.S. 97 in northern Klamath County. About 120 homes were evacuated. Firefighters reported progress on the fire of about 350 acres, so residents were allowed to go home Monday night. The Central Oregon fire center calls the fire human-caused but hasn't released specifics. Firefighters said their task now is to improve the line around the fire and make sure flames don't jump outside it. PORTION OF DESCHUTES RIVER CLOSED TO RAFTERS Federal authorities battling a Central Oregon wildfire have closed a 40-mile segment of the lower Deschutes River to rafters. Spokeswoman Lisa Clark of the Central Oregon fire center says flames on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation have burned from the west to the river's edge, causing concern for the safety of rafters pulling in at campsites for the evening. She says raft trips on the Warm Springs-Nena stretch include one night in camp, sometimes two. She says fires have a history of jumping the river. The closure comes at high season for rafters on the popular whitewater river. The closure immediately affects about 100 rafters with permits to run the segment of the river on Tuesday. But Clark says they'll be allowed to run stretches downstream instead.

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