Fires and the threat of more have effectively closed Mount Hood National Forest. That means you shouldn't even consider hiking or camping in the wilderness area for the time being.
The U.S. Forest Service is asking the public to avoid all travel in the more than 1 million acres of land in its jurisdiction there. Not only is there ongoing fire activity, other hazards, including fallen trees and potentially downed power lines from recent high winds, could harm recreationists and put first responders at risk in a rescue situation.
Moreover, Forest Service staff and firefighters need the roads clear over the next several days to work on extinguishing the blazes and clearing debris.
This morning, crews evacuated campgrounds along Forest Road 46 in the Clackamas River Ranger District. And businesses on the peak, like Mt. Hood Brewing, are shut down until further notice.
Just a day ago, the Forest Service closed the Timberline Trail between Timberline Lodge and Cloud Cap Saddle. The Elk Meadows and Umbrella/Sahalie Falls trailheads were also off limits to help firefighters. But strong winds have pushed those flames farther, and additional closures are now needed.
Elsewhere in the state, fires continue to break out and grow in size, including in Southern Oregon.
The Oregon Department of Transportation closed Interstate 5 from Milepost 1 near the Oregon-California border to Milepost 40 near Gold Hill. Southbound drivers in the Rogue Valley are urged to exit the freeway and seek local services in the Medford/Central Point area until fire conditions improve.
Eugene-based KVAL reports that some people abandoned their vehicles on the interstate, and Oregon State Police is directing those individuals to contact emergency dispatchers immediately.
There is no estimated time for I-5 to reopen. The Jackson County Expo is now serving as an emergency shelter.