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Visits to Crater Lake down for a second year in a row due to wildfire smoke

This photo provided by Inciweb.gov, shows smoke from Bybee Creek Wildfire drifting over Crater Lake, Ore., July 30, 2016. The wildfire burning west of Crater Lake National Park has grown to more than 400 acres as of Tuesday, and the park remains open, but fire officials say West Rim Drive could be intermittently closed over the next couple of days. (Cheryl Chipman/Inciweb.gov via AP)

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.

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Information from: The Bulletin, http://www.bendbulletin.com

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