Oregon Parks and Recreation Department begins to assess wildfire damage

By Meerah Powell (OPB)
Sept. 19, 2020 6:18 p.m.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said the wildfires continuing to burn across the state have so far burned about 900 acres of state park land. Most of that land is undeveloped forest.

Collier Memorial State Park in Chiloquin saw the most damage, losing roughly 400 acres of Ponderosa pines, the department said.


“Although 400 acres is a lot by any estimation, the careful fuel reduction and stand improvement slowed the fire spread enough to be contained before major damage occurred,” Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Forester Craig Leech said in a statement.

Detroit Lake State Recreation Area and the Mongold day-use area on Detroit Lake suffered only minor damage from the Beachie Creek Fire, the parks and recreation agency said.


North Santiam State Recreation Area, about 20 miles west of Detroit Lake, saw much more damage. The Beachie Creek Fire burned straight through that campground located on the North Santiam River, the agency said.

At Silver Falls, also in that area, 125 acres burned in the southeast part of the park, according to the department.

Other parks like Wallowa Lake State Park and Devil’s Lake State Park saw minimal wind damage and some downed trees. Many parks on the Oregon Coast also have reported downed trees.

Several parks in the Willamette Valley and on the northern Oregon Coast are serving as evacuation sites from wildfires, some in partnership with the Red Cross.

Many other parks are closed as Oregon Parks and Recreation Department continues to assess damage and schedule repairs.

“We are happy to help provide a temporary landing place for those whose lives have been uprooted by this wildfire disaster,” Oregon Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Sumption said in a statement. “We are looking forward to restoring and reopening our closed parks as soon as is a safely possible.”