Breitenbush Hot Springs closes as evacuation warning issued for area north of Detroit

An evacuation warning has been issued for Breitenbush Hot Springs and its community, along with multiple campgrounds north of Detroit.

Two wildfires are burning within three miles of the resort, cabins, and campgrounds, prompting Marion County to issue a level 1 evacuation.

The evacuation doesn’t require visitors to leave and means “get ready to go” in case the fires become more serious.

Breitenbush Hot Springs plans to close at 6 p.m. today due to heavy smoke levels, not because of any direct threat of the fire.

“We’re a healing place, and we don’t want to invite people to a place where the air quality is so bad,” said Peter Moore, business director for the hot springs. “We’re hoping to reopen in a couple of weeks, but of course that depends on the fire situation.”

Breitenbush Road 46 north of Detroit, which was closed Monday and Tuesday because of firefighting efforts on the newly ignited Scorpion Fire, will be open to the public. However, visitors should expect delays.

Campgrounds in the evacuation area include Humbug and Breitenbush, the Fox Creek and Cleator Bend Group Sites, and the Short Mountain and Bald Butte Trailheads.

These campgrounds and trails remain open, but visitors should expect smoke and be prepared to leave if the situation deteriorates.

The city of Detroit and all campgrounds around the reservoir are not subject to the evacuation warning.

“There are quite a few people planning to visit this area for the Labor Day Weekend, and all the evacuation warning does is let them know there is smoke and fire nearby, and to be ready and understand the situation,” Detroit district ranger Grady McMahan said.

The two fires burning in the area include the 15-acre Scorpion Fire, about two miles west of Breitenbush Hot Springs, which ignited Monday.

The other nearby blaze is the 261-acre Little Devil Fire, burning about three miles to the east in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness.

Neither are expected to burn into the Breitenbush area at present, but officials want people to be prepared.

Predicted increasing temperatures and low humidity are expected to increase fire danger over the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Residents and visitors are reminded that a burn ban remains in effect in Marion County. The ban prohibits all fires, including recreational, backyard, and fire pits in parks and campsites. For specific questions, residents are encouraged to contact their local fire district.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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