September 4, 2006

The Bybee Fire Complex - Smoke on the Water at Crater Lake

POST #    2233

When we first knew we were going to Oregon, the only thing we had to plan around was Brynn and Whalen's wedding. After we found out what day that was, we decided to reserve one night's stay at Crater Lake. The first place people generally look is to Crater Lake Lodge, which overlooks the lake. Naturally, this is what we did too. As we went through the reservation process, we found that reserving for August, 2006 before the summer even started was too late. We would have been fine for August, 2007 though. So we ended up staying at The Cabins at Mazama Village, which aren't sexy at all, but they do their job. When we actually got to the park, we could smell smoke in the air and once we got to the first spot overlooking the lake, much to our despair, we could barely see the lake at all (click first image for larger view of smoke).

As we drove around the rim, we found out that the fire was due to a natural wildfire nearby that didn't threaten the visitors to the lake, but did cause for smokey conditions. It would have been nice to know there was a fire beforehand, but with plans made so far in advance to see Crater Lake's natural beauty, we probably wouldn't have cancelled anyway.

The Bybee Wildland Fire Use Complex, which was actually two wildfires, started naturally around July 23rd from lighting during a storm. Because the cause was natural and for several other reasons (like the moisture of the area where the fire was), the Park Service decided to let the fire burn and take its natural course. It makes perfect sense as it's the ecosystem of the forrest and I completely agree with the decision, it's just unfortunate that it happened before our trip.

When we were there on August 21st, the fire complex was at 720 acres with 49 people committed to the fire. As of yesterday, there were 1,750 acres burned and 91 people committed to the complex.

Posted by tien mao in Photos, Travel at 10:15 AM



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