Wildfires burning near Crater Lake National Park; segment of Pacific Crest Trail closed

Blanket Creek Fire during night operations on the fireline perimeter. (InciWeb)

PROSPECT, Ore. - Firefighters are working to control two wildfires burning in or near Crater Lake National Park in Oregon, one of which has closed a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail.

Lightning sparked both the Blanket Creek Fire, burning 7 miles east of Prospect; and the Spruce Lake Fire, burning on the western boundary of the national park.

The Blanket Creek fire has burned over 1,200 acres and is 7 percent contained. Detected July 25, there are nearly 600 people working the fire.

"The fire is burning on steep ground with heavy timber, and the fire fighting efforts are being challenged by a record setting heat wave currently impacting the Pacific Northwest," according to a briefing from fire managers.

There are no threats to structures or roads. Firefighters are working to use existing roads and trails to create fire breaks.

The Spruce Lake Fire was first detected July 29 burning near the western boundary of Crater Lake National Park.

Helicopter rapellers were some of the first to arrive on scene, but the hot, dry weather and gusty winds complicated firefighting efforts, fire managers said.

On Tuesday "the fire displayed extreme behavior and made a significant run to the east, spotting up to a mile ahead of the main fire," according to a briefing from fire managers.

The fire is estimated at 1,400 acres and 5 percent contained "with significant growth expected as record setting temperatures, low relative humidity and an unstable atmosphere," according to a briefing.

The Spruce Lake Fire has forced the closure of the Pacific Crest Trail from Lightning Springs Trail north to Red Cone Camp. Further north on the Pacific Crest Trail, a portion of the route is closed in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness due to the Whitewater Fire burning there.

The Bald Crater Loop Trail is also closed from the Pacific Crest Trail to Bert Creek Trail due to the Spruce Lake Fire.

The fire and the 118 personnel assigned to it are now under the command of the same team managing the Blanket Creek Fire.

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