Wildfire closes trails, campground at Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls, OR (KPTV) — Several trails were closed and a YMCA youth campground was evacuated at Silver Falls State Park Friday after a fire was reported at the southern end of the park.
The Oregon Department of Forestry said Friday evening that the fire was under an acre in size. Later, the agency reported that the blaze had grown between six and seven acres, but it’s difficult to get to as fire crews can’t attack it from the ground.
Air and hand crews were on scene, as well as a helicopter, five heavy tankers and two single-engine air tankers. The tankers dropped fire retardant over the flames, ODF said.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said a call came in around 8 p.m. Thursday night reporting smoke in the area, but crews couldn’t find any smoke overnight.
FOX 12 spoke with the caller, a woman, Friday night.
“Walked out onto our master bedroom deck, which overlooks the state park, and we saw a column of smoke, and we were like, ‘OK, let’s watch this and make sure it’s not a campfire,'” the woman said. “And it just kinda kept growing and growing and I’m like, ‘Yep, we got ourselves a fire.'”
Crews still couldn’t get a clear location on the fire because of thick underbrush in the park.
This is an area by Buck Mountain and Perimeter trails, an area of the park that’s lightly used. But tonight, crews will be doing chainsaw work cutting paths in the underbrush to get to the fire.
“This is a 9000 acre park it’s the largest in the state park system and most of it is heavily wooded, a lot of underbrush, a lot of rough terrain in the back section of the park, the southern and eastern section of the park and that’s where this small fire is,” Chris Havel with Oregon Parks and Recreation said.
At least 30 ODF personnel were on scene. Officials said that if the flames grow too large, there will be a bullhorn notification to all visitors and campers.
Camp Silver Creek evacuated 185 people. 142 of those were kids, according to the OPRD. The camp was set to close tomorrow. The fire is burning north of the camp.
This was a precaution as it’s not close to the fire but firefighters were concerned that if winds picked and the fire grew there wouldn’t be time to evacuate the camp.
The trails closed Friday included the Buck Mountain Loop, the Cutoff trail, and the Smith Creek trail.
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