Wildfire in southeast Mt. Hood forest

A wildfire in the Barlow Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest swelled to an estimated 60 acres by Tuesday.

The fire, which is burning in heavy timber in the Badger Creek Wilderness several miles east of Highway 35 near Bonney Crossing Campground, was two acres large when U.S. Forest Service officials discovered it Saturday night. Since then, it’s grown substantially.

Helicopters began dropping water on the Badger Lake Fire on Saturday and continued water bucket operations throughout daylight hours Sunday and Monday.

Laura Pramuk, a Forest Service spokesperson, reported conditions are “very dry and windy,” with potential for the fire to spread wide in the area, which is popular with hunters and hikers.

Pramuk said the fire is challenging to access and fight due to “very rugged, steep terrain and numerous snags, making it particularly dangerous for firefighters and the public.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The ranger district will be issuing a fire area closure to safeguard the public. Currently the Badger Lake Campground, Trail 479 and the 4860-140 Road are closed due to possible dangers from the wildfire and falling trees. The Forest Service has begun evacuating people in the vicinity of the fire as a precaution and in anticipation of the forthcoming closure order.

The fire area closure order and map will be available on the Mt. Hood NF website at Forest Closure Orders.

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