FIRE and bellowing plumes of SMOKE make this summer particularly dangerous for motorists in Oregon and Washington State. Recognizing this danger, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has recently closed several stretches of highway including:
1. Highway 26 ( at and around Warms Springs) ; and
2. 1-84 ( Pendleton to Ontario)
Highway 26 and I-84 are two of Oregon’s major significant east-west connecter. While necessary for safety, closures increase traffic on rural two- lane roadways not meant for high volume.
As an inevitable result, impatient drivers more frequently cross the yellow solid line, sometimes with fatal consequences. Meanwhile, plumes of smoke bellow across roadways obscuring visibility and distracting drivers. In central and western Oregon a haze blunts clear vision. And, during forest fire season motorists are more likely to use mobile devises, while driving.
One very serious cross over, head on collision occurred the morning of August 8, 2015 on Highway 97 just south of Bend. The crash seriously critically injured three persons including a 60 year old man from Sunriver. Police report that a Ford Explorer driven by a 19 year old crossed the center line. Pictures are shown below. The cause of the crash is under investigation.