Detour: How to get around 50-mile Hwy. 97 closure

Detour: How to get around 50-mile Hwy. 97 closure

NEAR GOLDENDALE, Wash. -- No end in sight to the Mile Marker 28 Fire means there's no way to know when Highway 97 will open again to traffic.

Flames and smoke on both sides of the highway have kept it shut down for more than a day.

As the forest fire continues to spread, so do the headaches for drivers with about 50 miles of Highway 97 shut down. Gabe Fox is trying to see his newborn in California.

"It is an unpleasant surprise," he said. "It's definitely going to make my day a little longer."

Gabe is now looking at an 80-mile detour.

Heavy smoke keeps drivers from seeing the road ahead of them and makes going over Satus Pass too dangerous. The Department of Transportation says this is the only option.

"Certainly an inconvenience for them, but to keep people safe we chose to close the roads," said Department of Transportation Managing Supervisor Keith Maybee.

Homeowners are the only ones allowed to pass through the barricades. 

DOT officials can't say when Highway 97 will reopen. For the time being, here are the detours you can take:

  • If you're heading south, take I-82 east to Umatilla, then west on I-84.
  • You can also take Highway 221 South to Highway 14 West.
  • If you're heading North, take Highway 14 East to 221 North. Then Highway 22 West.

It's a necessary inconvenience for drivers as firefighters try to gain the upper hand on the fire miles down the highway.

No other county roads are closed because of the fire.