Potato Hill Fire affects drivers on Highway 20

Potato Hill Fire began August 29

The Potato Hill Fire erupted Aug. 29, 2017 and is expected to grow. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A relatively small wildfire is impacting Highway 20 near Santiam Pass and is also near other fires creating a hazard for the Labor Day weekend.

The Potato Hill Fire began August 29 and grew to more than 150 acres by Friday afternoon. At this time, firefighters are using both direct and indirect means to battle this blaze.

Complete Oregon Wildfire updates

Authorities said the Potato Hill Fire, which is near the Hoodoo Ski Area, could cause visibility issues along Highway 20 at night and in the early morning.

The Potato Hill fire is in between the Whitewater Fire to the north and the Milli Fire to the southeast. Other nearby fires to the south include the Separation, Roney and Horse Creek Complex fires.

On Friday afternoon, a pilot truck was leading cars through some of the areas where fire crews are currently active.

The Potato Hill Fire is burning just south of Highway 20, near Lost Lake, Sept. 1, 2017. (InciWeb)

The smoke and the wildfires for the first time in 30 years forced the cancellation of Cycle Oregon, a cross-state biking event.

Smoke is also causing cancellations near Detroit Lake. Two fires in particular have affected the town’s air quality. The Little Devil Fire and the Whitewater Fire are driving in enough smoke to possibly drive away visitors.

Following a major tourism boom for the solar eclipse on August 21, the smoke, fire and bad air quality are serving a serious blow to the state’s $11 billion tourism industry.

The Chetco Bar Fire continues to rage nearly unabated and is the largest wildfire in the country.

Traffic backup near Highway 20 & 126 due to wildfires, Sept. 1, 2017. (KOIN)

There are about two dozen wildfires currently burning in Oregon.

Fire season likely to continue

(AP) — Federal officials say one of the worst wildfire seasons in the U.S. is likely to continue scorching western states and blanket large swaths with smoke until cooler weather patterns with rain or snow arrive later in the fall.

Forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise on Friday released the four-month outlook that predicts September will continue hot and dry with above normal fire potential in northwestern states, Nevada and California.

The 10,600 square miles (27,500 square kilometers) that have burned at this point rank the 2017 wildfire season as the third worst in the last decade.

The center says more than 25,000 firefighters and fire support personnel are spread out across the Western U.S. fighting 56 large uncontained wildfires, 21 of them in Montana and 17 in Oregon.