White River wildfire burns 570 acres, 15% contained

No structures immediately in danger with closest community 2.5 miles away


MAUPIN, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A wildfire that began Saturday at the White River Canyon, 12 miles west of Tygh Valley, has burned around 570 acres of mixed conifer forests, oak woodland and grass savannas.

Firefighters said Sunday evening that the fire was 15% contained with no structures immediately in danger. However, crews did say widely scattered homes, cabins and other structures are on the fire’s fringe with the nearest community being Pine Grove – approximately 2.5 miles south of the flames.

The fire did not grow in size on Sunday with 380 firefighters working during the day and 65 scheduled to fight the flames overnight.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

White River Canyon is designated as a wilderness, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and is steep and extremely hazardous. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has some wildlife conservation land inside the burned area, and several tracts of private land are affected by the fire.

Hotshot crews were working inside the canyon to construct a fire line and fill dangerous snags. Crews doing mop-up Sunday night will work on the south end of the fire.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, helicopters supported firefighters Sunday by delivering buckets of water onto hot spots. However, persistent thunderstorm activity limited their flying time. More helicopters are expected to be assigned to battle the wildfire on Monday.

Because the White River Fire is burning on both sides of the river, making the riverbank unsafe and causing visibility problems due to smoke, the Mt. Hood National Forest is asking kayakers to hold off using the Keeps Mill Campground launch site and others until river passage is safe.

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