Wildfire forces closure of prime eclipse viewing territory in Oregon

DETROIT, Ore. (AP) — A growing wildfire is forcing authorities to close miles of roads, trails and mountains in north-central Oregon that was expected to be prime eclipse-viewing territory.

The Statesman Journal reports that about 180 square miles (466 kilometers) in and around the Mount Jefferson area were closed beginning Monday and will remain closed through the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, which is expected to draw tens of thousands to Oregon and perhaps many more. The area being closed is within the region where the moon will fully cover the sun.

Willamette National Forest Supervisor Tracy Beck said in a statement that “the risk is too great, and our highest responsibility must be visitor safety.”

A fire in the area grew to 8 square miles (20.7 kilometers) Monday and is expected to continue growing.