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Fire activity dying down on Willamette National Forest blazes; officials still urge staying out of remaining closure areas

October dawns at Lookout Fire Camp
Lookout Fire/InciWeb
October dawns at Lookout Fire Camp

(Update: Sunday fires report)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Lookout Fire closure area was reduced Friday due to cooler, wetter weather and successful firefighting and suppression repair efforts, reopening access to some popular recreation sites in the McKenzie corridor. But the rain also brings slick, muddy forest roads, prompting limits and caution.

A closure order for the Petes Lake Fire also expired last week, opening access to all trails within the Three Sisters Wilderness that are on the Willamette National Forest.  

The lightning-caused Lookout Fire, which was reported on Aug. 5, is approximately 25,751 acres and 50% contained. The closure order, which is for public and firefighter safety, is in effect through Oct. 29, unless rescinded or modified sooner.  

Many popular recreation sites and trails are now open, including Sahalie Falls and portions of the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. Popular destination Blue Pool may only be accessed from the north on the McKenzie River Trail, with Koosah Falls Day Use area as the nearest access point. Parking is limited, so visitors are asked to plan accordingly in the event there is no safe or legal parking available. Forest Service Road 15 remains open.  

Outside of the Lookout closure boundary, there are several roads closed for emergency fire suppression and repair activity, including FS Road 2672-655, FS Road 2672, FS Road 2657, FS Road 2653, and FS Road 2649. For the latest information on any road closures, please monitor TripCheck for updates: 

The Petes Lake Fire, which was also sparked by lightning and started on Aug. 25, is now 3,254 acres. The fire burned across a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, and the public is reminded to use caution through fire-impacted areas. For more information about recreating in burned areas, visit 

For the complete list of recreation sites and roads included in the Lookout Fire Closure Order, visit our website at  

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @WillametteNF for more updates.   

Here's Sunday's update on the Willamette fires:

Lookout, Bedrock, Petes Lake, Horse Creek and Pothole Fires
Sunday, October 1, 2023 - Morning Update – 9:00 a.m. 

Lookout Fire: Size: 25,751 acres | Start Date: August 5 | Cause: Lightning | Containment: 50%

Bedrock Fire: Size: 31,590 acres | Start Date: July 22 l Cause: Under Investigation l Containment: 98%

Petes Lake Fire: Size: 3,254 acres | Start Date: August 25 | Cause: Lightning | Completion: 80%

Horse Creek Fire: Size: 763 acres | Start Date: August 24 | Cause: Lightning | Containment: 100%

Pothole Fire: Size: 109 acres | Start Date: August 25 | Cause: Lightning | Containment: 100%

Total Assigned Personnel: 521 | 13 engines 11 crews | 2 dozers 3 water tenders 2 masticators 2 helicopters

(Walterville, Ore.) – Given the decrease in fire activity, extensive suppression repair work is in progress, and closure areas are adjusting accordingly to reflect the cooler weather and successful efforts of firefighters. It remains essential for the public to adhere to the remaining closures listed on the Willamette National Forest Official Website, which are in place for both firefighter and public safety. As temperatures increase, smoke may be visible around the Lookout fire area as fuels inside the Lookout Fire’s perimeter smolder. Today, aerial resources will be flying for reconnaissance purposes. 

Suppression Repair: The Lookout Fire has minimal fire behavior due to favorable weather conditions this week. Fuels continue to smolder within the fire's existing footprint. As roadbeds continue to dry, repair work is focused on locations impacted by suppression. Repair activities include naturalizing constructed firelines, removing materials generated from suppression activities and clearing debris-filled ditches and culverts on impacted road systems. The extensive use of heavy equipment is critical in these efforts to ensure the restoration of local ecosystems and landscapes. 

Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER): Similar to the BAER assessment on the Bedrock Fire, an Emergency Response Team of resource specialists has begun field surveys and assessments for the burned areas of the Lookout, Pothole and Horse Creek Fires. For more information and updates regarding this BAER team’s assessment, follow the Willamette National Forest Facebook and the Lookout Fire Facebook.

Weather: Sunny, warmer, and dry conditions are expected today. Winds will be light out of the northwest. There is a chance of light showers starting Monday afternoon.

Forest Closures: The Willamette National Forest still has established closures around fire-impacted areas, including the Lookout and Bedrock Fires. The public is urged to “Know Before You Go” by visiting the Willamette National Forest official webpage. Currently, there are no closures in effect for the Petes Lake Fire. For specific hunting-related questions, contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at (503) 947-6000.

Safety: The public is asked to exercise caution, especially along roadways around the fire. Drivers should be extra vigilant along Forest Road 15 between Highway 126 and Highway 20 where crews and heavy equipment are traveling and engaging in suppression repair work. Following safety measures and respecting closure areas will help ensure a safe work environment for crews while also protecting the public.Related Links

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