(Update: Hwy. 26 reopens; details from fire chief; info on other Oregon fires)
MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) – A four-acre brush fire that Jefferson County Fire District crews put out north of Madras Saturday apparently rekindled in windy conditions early Sunday evening, bringing back firefighters to battle the blaze and prompting closure of U.S. Highway 26 due to thick smoke, an official said.
Fire Chief Jeff Blake said the cause of the initial fire was still under investigation, and the renewed blaze was “probably either a hot spot or something got blown across the line” crews dug on Saturday.
Blake said some area residents had “pretty significant piles” of debris in their yards that were checked again on Sunday morning and afternoon, before 20 mph winds reignited a fire that burned another half to ¾ of an acre.
ODOT closed the highway before 6 p.m. Sunday near milepost 111 and Northwest Columbia Drive, about five miles north of Madras. It was reopened before 7:30 p.m.
Thick smoke blew across the highway, limiting visibility and prompting the closure. Traffic was diverted and ODOT advised motorists to use an alternate route until the highway reopened.
Track traffic updates on our ODOT TripCheck page.
Meanwhile, the Cedar Creek Fire on the Willamette National Forest near Waldo Lake grew to 4,256 acres on Saturday, remaining at zero containment as crews used heavy equipment to build fire breaks along forest roads, trails and natural areas. More information is available on their Facebook page.
Lines also are being improved on the Windigo Fire on the Umpqua National Forest and the Potter and Big Swamp fires on the Willamette National Forest. The fires are being jointly managed and share a Facebook page for updates.
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