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New fire at Hand Lake

Firefighters Responding to New Fire Near Hand Lake

Willamette Forest PRMcKenzie Bridge: Firefighters are responding to a new fire near Hand Lake, just south of the Mount Washington Wilderness, on the McKenzie River Ranger District. The fire was reported earlier this afternoon by a patrol plane, which provides aerial detection for fires. The fire is approximately 5 acres in size; the cause is unknown.

Smoke from this new fire is visible throughout the surrounding area and can be seen along Highway 126 in the McKenzie River Corridor and Old McKenzie Pass Highway 242, as well as from communities in Central Oregon including Sisters and Bend. Visitors in the Hand Lake area and travelers on Highway 242 may also smell smoke.

Resources currently responding to the fire include the McKenzie River Ranger District fire crew, one engine, and three helicopters. Additional resources have been ordered to assist with suppression efforts.

In addition to this new fire, firefighters are continuing to respond to holdover fires from thunderstorms that blanketed the Central Cascades with lightning a week ago. Firefighters from the District were successful in responding to several new fires that emerged this week, mostly in the Mount Washington and Three Sisters Wilderness areas.

“Our highest priority in responding to any new fire on the District is safety for the public and our firefighters,” said Terry Baker, District Ranger for the McKenzie River Ranger District.

There are currently no fire-related closures for the public or restrictions on campfires in the Willamette National Forest. “We urge visitors to continue to be careful with campfires,” said Baker. The fire danger level throughout the Forest is high. The Industrial Fire Precaution Level is II.

For additional information, please call the McKenzie River Ranger District at (541)822-3381 during business hours, which are Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. You can also contact Public information Officer Jennifer Velez at (503)298-8190. In addition, fire updates will be posted on the Willamette National Forest website at and shared via Twitter at


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