Fire near Warm Springs keeps rafters from popular river stretch

Fire near Warm Springs keeps rafters from popular river stretch
This photo, taken from KATU News helicopter Jet Ranger 2 on Monday, shows the wildfire burning on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. — Federal authorities battling a Central Oregon wildfire have closed a 40-mile segment of the lower Deschutes River to rafters.

Spokeswoman Lisa Clark of the Central Oregon fire center says flames on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation have burned from the west to the river's edge, causing concern for the safety of rafters pulling in at campsites for the evening.

Clark says raft trips on the Warm Springs-Nena stretch include one night in camp, sometimes two. She says fires have a history of jumping the river.

The closure comes at high season for rafters on the popular river. The closure immediately affects about 100 rafters with permits to run the segment of the river on Tuesday. But Clark says they'll be allowed to run stretches downstream instead.

The fire is more than 22,000 acres in size, according to Northwest Interagency Coordination Center spokeswoman Carol Connolly. Approximately 350 firefighters are working the fire. They made good progress Monday, Connolly said.

Crews hope to have the fire fully contained by July 28. The fire was caused by humans, Connolly said, but the specifics are still under investigation.