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Sweet Creek Fire Grows In Steep Terrain Near Mapleton

Oregon Department of Forestry

A wildfire near Mapleton, in Western Lane County, has grown to 500 acres and is 0% contained. The Sweet Creek Milepost Two fire was reported Sunday afternoon and prompted evacuation orders.  

Jim Gersbach is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He said the fire is in steep terrain on private and BLM forestland south of Mapleton.

“So that always makes the job of digging and making control lines harder.” Gersbach said. “You’ve also got to factor in things rolling downhill. So, that’s not the easiest terrain in the world to fight fires in.”

ODF crews are getting help from local firefighters. There are  six bulldozers, five water tenders, an excavator and a processor working to reinforce control lines. Gersbach said Highway 126 remains open to through traffic but, travelers should expect delays on what is already a heavily traveled road.

“And then you add on to that additional firefighters arriving and departing.” Gersbach said, “And so we’d just ask that people you know just be mindful that it might take a little longer and that there would be more traffic than they’re accustomed to in that area and so to just use extra caution when driving through there.”

The Lane County Sheriff  Monday issued a Level 1 (be ready) evacuation order for Bernhardt Creek Road and Duncan Island Road due to the fire. 

Hadsall Creek Road is still under a Level 3 (Go) evacuation order and Sweet Creek Road is under Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation order.

Gersbach said weather conditions are expected to worsen with hotter temperatures forecast for later this week. He urges the public to use care when recreating to avoid starting new fires. Gersbach said they’re seeing more human caused fires this summer than usual.

The fire’s cause is still under investigation.

Copyright 2020 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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