Crater Lake saw few visitors because of wildfire smoke

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) — The number of summer visitors to Crater Lake National Park in south-central Oregon has dropped for the second consecutive year because of smoke from wildfires.

Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman says wildfires inside and outside of the park kept people away during July and August, traditionally the park’s two busiest months.

The Bend Bulletin reports that visitation in July dropped by 22 percent from the prior July. Visitation in August was down nearly 17 percent compared to the previous August.

Ackerman says there were days when the smoke reached levels considered hazardous to breathe and made it hard for visitors to see the iconic lake.

But he also said national stories and exaggerations on social media led some people think the fires in the area were more severe than they were.