Rattle Fire keeps highway 138 closed for weekend – September 12, 2008

Rattle Fire keeps highway 138 closed for weekend

Oregon Public Broadcasting News

Portland, Oregon
September 12, 2008

By CHRISTINA NEUHAUS

Highway 138 will remain closed over the weekend on a four-mile stretch in the Umpqua National Forest. That includes the major route to Diamond Lake and Crater Lake.

It is unclear right now when the road will be opened again.

The reason for closing it is the so-called Rattle Fire. Lightning started the fire on August 18th, and now it’s burning over 3300 acres.

Tim Johnson is the information officer for the Rattle Fire.

Tim Johnson: “The principle reason why this fire is difficult to fight is the terrain. The area along highway 138 that is closed is extremely steep, much of the slope more than 70 percent grade, and so it’s nearly impossible to put hand-crews on a grade of that size.”

Johnson says 899 people and 11 helicopters are working to contain the fire. He says the dry weather poses another difficulty for the firefighters.

Humidity has been very low in the past few days. And more hot, dry weather is predicted for the weekend.

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