Rafters Will Mingle with Firefighters on the Re-Opened Rogue River

By Amelia Templeton

One of the iconic whitewater runs in the Northwest is back in business. The lower wild section of Oregon’s Rogue River re-opened to rafts and kayaks this morning, after thunderstorms dampened the Big Windy Fire.

The air still smells a little smoky in the town of Merlin but the sky is blue. Just a couple hours after the lower Rogue opened, outfitter Brad Niva said he’d already sent 10 clients down the river.

Niva said rafters might spot the Big Windy still burning on the ridges above the Rogue.

“The river’s back open, but the fire’s not out, the fire’s diminished. There are still firefighters down there. And there will a helicopter here and there dipping out of the river. And people think that’s pretty cool. That’s actually usually a highlight of their trip.”

The BLM is asking rafts to yield to the helicopters. And to avoid going ashore in places where the fire is still active. The hiking trails along the Rogue remain closed.

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