Firefighters are working on a fire east of Salem in Silver Falls State Park that forced the evacuation of a YMCA youth camp and has closed some backcounty trails. The fire is currently estimated at 10 acres and is burning in remote, steep, timbered terrain.
Chris Havel with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department says the fire forced 142 children and staff with a YMCA youth camp at Camp Silver Creek to end camp a day early.
Smoke was first reported late in the evening on Thursday, July 12. Crews from Drakes Crossing Fire District responded quickly, but the small size of the fire and thick undergrowth made it difficult to pinpoint the source before darkness made further work impossible. Crews from the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) joined Drakes Friday, July 13 to cut a trail toward the fire while aviation resources dropped water and retardant through the day.
As of Saturday morning, the park remained open but officials say some backcountry trails near the fire have been closed. There will be abundant firefighter equipment and aircraft in the area.
Any visitors who plan to visit Silver Falls State Park this weekend are advised to wait until more information is available. For updates, check oregonstateparks.org.