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Highway 126 reopens after spot fires from Lookout Fire prompt closure; welcome rain expected in area

Lookout Fire spot fires close Hwy 126 830
Lookout Fire/Facebook
Firefighters were putting out spot fires east of Hwy. 126 Wednesday morning, prompting ODOT to close the highway
Highway 126 closure TripCheck 830
ODOT TripCheck
TripCheck map Wednesday shows Hwy. 126 closure due to spot fires crossing to the east
Lookout Horse Creek Pothole Fires 830
Lookout Fire
Tuesday map shows how close the Lookout Fire has gotten to Hwy. 126 to the east, and newer Horse Creek, Pothole fires
Bedrock hand crew coming off line 824
Bedrock Fire/InciWeb
Bedrock Fire hand crew coming off the line

(Update: Thursday morning update; Highway 126 reopened Wednesday evening)

Fire behavior limited amid cooler temperatures

McKENZIE BRIDGE, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three small spot fires from the Lookout Fire were discovered Wednesday morning east of Highway 126 and four miles north of Belknap Springs, prompting ODOT to close the highway between U.S. Highway 20 on the north and state Highway 242 to the south for several hours.

The fires were located about four miles north of the Hwys. 126-242 (McKenzie Pass Highway) junction, the largest initially reported at 1.5 acres. ODOT closed the 20-mile stretch “to aid firefighters as they take full suppression actions,” fire officials said.

ODOT indicated the road reopened by about 7 p.m. and while drivers faced "no to minimum delay," they also were urged to use caution in the area.

A 14-mile stretch of the McKenzie Pass Highway to the east has been closed for almost two weeks due to the nearby wildfire. Get traffic updates on KTVZ.COM's TripCheck page.

Here's Thursday morning's update on the Lookout, Horse Creek and Pothole fires:

Lookout Fire, Bedrock Fire, 2023 Horse Creek Fire
News - 08/31/2023

Alert: Highway 126 between Highways 242 and 20 reopened on Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm. 

August 31, 2023 
Morning Update   

Lookout, Horse Creek, Pothole Fires Total Personnel:  940 
Resources: 61 engines l 15 crews l 12 bulldozers 35 water tenders l 11 masticators l 16 helicopters 
Horse Creek: Size: 763 acres l Start Date: August 24, 2023 l Cause: Lightning l Containment: 10%  

Fire behavior was limited yesterday. Fire crews and equipment completed a fireline around the perimeter of the fire and used a drone to identify hot spots and map the perimeter of the fire last night. This will help guide crews today as they widen and secure the line. Masticators are working to reduce fuels along the Horse Creek Road to create a fuel break and more secure control line. 

Lookout: Size: 24,575 acres l Start Date: August 5, 2023 Cause: Lightning l Containment: 17%  

Three small spot fires were detected east of Highway 126 about four miles north of Belknap Springs, the largest was about two acres. Aviation resources dropped water and retardant on the fires immediately after detection. This aided on-the-ground resources to surround the fires with containment line. Crews will continue to secure and mop-up these spot fires today.

Along the northern, western, and eastern flanks of the fire, fuel breaks continue to be prepared by tree fallers, fire crews, and heavy equipment along forest system roads to be used as primary and alternate control lines.

On the southeast flank, near Belknap Springs, smoke may become more visible in the McKenzie River corridor as the fire slowly backs downhill toward completed containment lines near Highway 126. On the southern edge, crews are removing unneeded firehose, pumps, etc. where containment lines are confidently secure.

To provide a safer working environment for firefighters, teams of expert tree fallers are working out in front of crews to remove fire weakened trees. Please Note: In the northwest corner of the Lookout Fire, west of the Trail Bridge Reservoir, there is a mapping error, the fire has not expanded quite as much to the north. This error will be adjusted in tomorrow’s maps. 

Pothole: Size: 109 acres l Start Date: August 25, 2023 l Cause: Lightning l Containment: 0%  

No measurable growth on this fire during the past couple of days has provided firefighters opportunities to build direct fireline around most of this fire. Today they will work to connect control lines around the entire perimeter. 

Bedrock: Total Personnel: 631 
 31,590 acres l Start Date: July 22, 2023 l Cause: under investigation l Containment: 80%  
 24 engines l 11 crews l 6 bulldozers 27 water tenders l 8 masticators l 11 helicopters 

There has been no measurable growth on the Bedrock Fire for several days. Pockets of unburned fuels within the established control lines will continue to produce visible smoke. Fire crews are now focused on hauling out equipment, fire hose, and pumps and repairing damage to the land and forest roads (grading, installing water bars, and re-contouring dozer lines). Sprinklers and other fire suppression equipment are being removed from the community of Big Fall Creek as the danger of active fire has substantially diminished.  

All Fires  

Firefighters and law enforcement officers maintain a presence in evacuated areas. Trained firefighters are flying Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drones through the smoke to provide infrared heat imaging to locate hotspots near control lines and provide more accurate mapping of the fire perimeter. Drones also support firing operations in areas that are hard to access, which reduces risk to firefighters.  


Widespread light to moderate rain is predicted beginning today through Friday, with a total accumulation of precipitation for Thursday and Friday between 0.5”-1”. For today, west/southwest light winds are expected with some gusty conditions on ridgetops and where river and creek drainages align.  

Evacuation Centers: An evacuation center is in place at Westridge Middle School in Oakridge for evacuees and small pets from the Bedrock and Lookout Fires. A large animal shelter is established at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene.  An up-to-date and searchable evacuation map is available through Lane county’s website. 

Lane County Evacuations:    
Linn County Evacuations:  

Road Closures:  

Highway 242, McKenzie Highway, is closed between milepost 61-76, 14 miles west of Sisters, Oregon to just east of the junction with Highway 126. Highway 126 is currently open. Please monitor Trip Check for any updates at:    

Forest Closures: Willamette National Forest closure orders remain in place around all four fire areas. These closures help provide firefighters with safer driving conditions and decrease the potential for search and rescue operations that could interrupt firefighting activities. Closures can be found at:  

Restrictions: Fire Restrictions are in place on the Willamette National Forest: Flight Restrictions remain in place over the Bedrock and Lookout fire areas.   

Smoke Outlook The Fire and Smoke Map ( is another source for air quality information.    

Lookout Information Line: 541-215-6735 (8am-8pm) 

Bedrock Fire Information: 541-414-6272 (8am-8pm)  
InciWeb Bedrock: 

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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