Petes Lake Fire Update, September 18

Fire info line: 541-316-7711

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  September 18, 2023

Central Oregon — The Petes Lake Fire burning in the Three Sisters Wilderness, 25 miles west of Bend, grew to 3,009 acres as of last night.

Due to forecast winds out of the northwest and sustained hot and dry conditions, the fire grew on the southeastern flank yesterday, crossing the Pacific Crest Trail north of the Goose Lake Trail. With winds out of the northwest again today, there is potential to see growth in the east/southeast flank today.

With this potential, firefighters will work on structure protection around Elk Lake and Lava Lake today. There is no imminent threat to the structures, but work is being done as a proactive, preventative measure. The completed shaded fuel break along the Cascades Lake Highway will also help as a preventative measure should the fire move further in the direction of Elk Lake and Lava Lake.

A Type 1 Incident Management Team (Pacific Northwest Team 2) will take command of the fire tomorrow.

The lower Wanoga Sno-park will be closed today to be used as a helipad as significant aviation resources will be deployed on the fire to slow the spread of the fire in the southeast flank. These resources include a Type 1 helicopter, two Type 2 helicopters, and one Type 3 helicopter.

The fire was ignited by lightning on August 25, 2023. The fire is burning in very hazardous conditions for firefighter safety and therefore a focus has been on using aviation resources on the fire.

Motorists should be aware of firefighter traffic along the Cascades Lake Highway as well as the movement of heavy equipment between Elk Lake and Lava Lake.   

Closures: Fire closures remain in place. Please click on the following link to access information about the closure: Deschutes National Forest – Alerts & Notices (usda.gov)

Evacuations: The Level 3 (Go Now) Evacuation Notice is still in place for all areas west of the Cascade Lakes Highway from the Lucky Lake Trailhead north to the Mirror Lake Trail. This includes the areas around Lucky Lake, Leech Lake, Doris Lake, Blow Lake and Mirror Lakes. Evacuation notices and updates can be found at: www.deschutes.org/emergency.   

Safety: The public can help firefighters by obeying trail closures and following all fire restrictions.

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