The Cascade Lakes Highway will be closed from Elk Lake to Lava Lake from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. for the next three days while fire crews cut shaded fuel breaks to limit the spread of the Petes Lake Fire.
Fire managers say the move is to make cutting the breaks safe and efficient.
“Drivers can detour around the closure using the primitive forest road, Elk Lake Loop / Forest Road 4625. A marked pilot car will be used to guide vehicles through other sections of the work areas. Motorists are asked to stay with the pilot car and not turn around or stop for photos. Additional traffic cones, signs and road guards are in place to increase safety. Cooperation from the public will help fire crews and equipment operators complete this work quickly and with minimal impact to local businesses,” reads the latest update from fire managers.
The fire, burning five miles west of Elk Lake, remained was an estimated 324 acres Tuesday morning and was zero percent contained.
“The fire continues to smolder and creep in areas that did not receive measurable rainfall. However, the predicted warmer temperatures and lower relative humidity will increase the potential for burning,” the update read.
Shaded fuel breaks are when firefighters thin the trees to reduce fire intensity, while also maintaining shade to slow ground fire. This, in turn, reduces the chances of the fire reaching cabins, lodges, campgrounds, restaurants and boat launches.
“The shaded fuel break work along the Cascades Lake Highway is expected to continue for several more days, but travelers can avoid work delays by driving around Forest Road 45 (River Summit Drive) to Forest Road 40. The heavy equipment requires occasional use of the highway to fell trees and transport brush to temporary landings, where the slash is processed, loaded and hauled off. The masticators fling wood debris and cannot be operated safely near traffic,” fire managers said.