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RAINBOW, Ore. -- The Cougar Reservoir area of the Willamette National Park is set to reopen July 1 after being closed for nearly a year due to a wildfire.
Last summer's devastating Terwilliger Fire torched almost 12,000 acres of the national forest McKenzie River District Ranger Darren Cross said there are circumstances out of anyone's control that led to the level of destruction the fire caused. He also said the park is losing money due to the closures.
"(It was) human caused. It was actually the driest day," said Cross. "They call it the energy release component, the ERC. They broke a record that day. The fire grew really big, really fast. We had people on scene here within a half an hour."
He said nearly 30,000 people come and use the park each year.
"This is going to look a lot different than how people remember it," said Cross.
Cross said the park gets nearly 40 calls a day asking when the Terwilliger hot springs will reopen.
"Soon they will be back open for the entire public to come and enjoy," he said.
However, Cross said the area is still vulnerable. He said they just had a reburn that torched about an acre just last week.
He also said that anyone tempted to come and use the hot springs while the park is still closed could face a fine up to $310.