Firefighters on Saturday were able to quickly knock down a 60-acre brush fire near Pelton Dam, but Highway 26 traffic is expected to be limited in the coming days as crews work to mop it up.
Jefferson County Fire Chief Brian Huff said about 60 firefighters were on the scene, getting help from two helicopters and a lead plane.
The fire started around 2 p.m. and shut down Highway 26 from Gumwood Lane to Pelton Jct. for a while until ODOT was able to get pilot cars to lead one lane of traffic through the area each way.
“We were very concerned the winds would change direction and drive the fire south to Pelton park,” Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins said in a Facebook update. “Due to mudslides from a previous storm, there is only one road in and out of the park, right by the fire.”
Huff said they expect to be working the fire for a couple of days and the highway, normally three lanes in that area, will be reduced to one lane each way.
Central Oregon Daily Meteorologist Dorrell Wenninger drove through the area around 9 p.m. and said he could see the fire down in the valley.
Huff said the fire was burning 26 miles north of Madras.
They’ve asked ODOT to block the lane closest to the guardrail so they can mop things up, Huff said.
Jefferson County, BLM, Warm Springs, and Bureau of Indian Affairs fire crews were working the fire.
There’s no word on what caused it.