Motorists traveling between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon should be prepared for long delays on Oregon highways because of wildland firefighting activities.
Areas around the OR 22/U.S. 20 route from Detroit Lake, through Santiam Pass and to Sisters are experiencing a number of active wildfires that are causing road closures and delays. Motorists traveling over the Cascades during the busy Labor Day weekend need to know before they go by checking TripCheck.com.
The busy U.S. 20 corridor over Santiam Pass has been particularly affected by the fires. Just west of the Pass, ODOT has been forced to use a pilot car to direct two-way traffic for 1.5 miles on U.S. 20 (mileposts 76-77.4) because of fire fighting activities. Travelers should expect flagging with a pilot car that will be used from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. While both lanes are open in the evening between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the flagging with a pilot car could be activated at any time depending on the fire situation.
The long delays are necessary to protect the traveling public and assist firefighters. During the day, wildland agencies are cutting burning snags, using helicopter water drops and moving equipment that is impacting U.S. 20. Travelers should consider alternative routes or expect long delays.
These delays are expected to continue over the next few days as temperatures soar, and the fire behavior and fire danger increases. Motorists are urged to be very careful driving through or parking around dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes can start the grass on fire. You may not even notice the fire until it's too late.