Forest fire closes trail in Cascades of Lane County

      SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A fire sparked by lightning this week grew Thursday, prompting public land managers to close a trail and land to public access.

      The Opal Lake Fire has burned about 20 acres.

      "I am always reticent to close access to public lands, but the fire burned more aggressively than predicted," said Duane Bishop, ranger for the Middle Fork District of the Willamette National Forest. "The fire is now just below the 3642 Trail and is burning uphill."

      The closure area includes the Windy Pass 3643 Trail; a short spur road (2154-372); as well as lands on the uphill (east) side of the main 2154 Road to the Lane/Deschutes County Boundary line.

      Road 2154, Timpanogas Shelter, Timpanogas Campground and Timpanogas Lake remain open.

      The portion of the 3643 Trail south of the closure area also remains open.

      For the latest backcountry recreation information, contact the Middle Fork Ranger District at (541) 782-2283.

      McKenzie River Ranger District

      On the McKenzie River Ranger District, crews were able to reach four of the 18 smokes, all four are less than an acre in size. One of those four is now completely out.

      "We are very grateful to the hikers who called in a two fires today, and we have no closures in place at this time. However we ask everyone to remain vigilant and call the Ranger Station before heading out into the Three Sisters Wilderness," said McKenzie River District Ranger Terry Baker. "We are especially concerned about the warming and drying weather, as the fires that have been smoldering may likely become more active."

      The phone number for the McKenzie River Ranger District (541) 822-3381.