By SUE RYAN
News staff writer
August 19, 2006
The U.S. Forest Service approved the reopening of Highway 35 Thursday night with restrictions.
A section of road between Baseline Drive northeast of Parkdale and the White River Sno-Park had been closed since Aug. 8, when fires began on Mount Hood. District Ranger Daina Bambe said Thursday plans had been finalized for a community meeting on the reopening, a fire update and questions and answers at 4 p.m. Friday (after press deadline) in Parkdale at the Parkdale Community Center.
As of Thursday evening, the Mount Hood Complex fire had burned 1,050 acres and was 25 percent contained. Crews have grown to 736 personnel with operations primarily focusing on the Bluegrass Fire. Work on the Gumjuwac Saddle Fire has reached the mop-up stage.
The Forest Service has continued a burnout of fuels along with heavy air support, which has been based on a taxiway at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield in Hood River.
Carson Helicopters of Medford has two Sikorsky helicopters, an S-64 Skycrane and an S-61-N, flying the loads of retardant and water to the fires.
Anne Yanotti, manager of Flightline Services (the airport’s operator) said the fire is a good reminder of the need for a local airport.
“Every county should have a local airport,” she said. “It’s really important for this kind of event for fire but also for search and rescue and LifeFlight operations.”
Restrictions for the highway’s reopening include:
* From 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.: Public travel on Highway 35 will be allowed with restrictions. There will be no stopping along Highway 35 between Cooper Spur Road and the Forest Service Road 48 junction.
* From 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.: Highway 35 will be closed to public traffic between Cooper Spur Road and Forest Service Road 48.
* From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.: Pilot cars will shuttle traffic through the fire zone between Milepost 67 (Pocket Creek) and Milepost 71 (north of Forest Service Road 44).
* The road to Mt. Hood Meadows and the road to Cloud Cap Inn/Tilly Jane will remain closed. However, Cooper Spur Road is open.