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Mapleton Man Arrested In Connection With Sweet Creek Fire

Karen Richards

A fire that started Sunday afternoon outside Mapleton was arson caused. Authorities made an arrest Tuesday afternoon.

WEDNESDAY A.M. UPDATE: The fire's size has been adjusted to 382 acres and is 15% contained. There is a virtual public meeting about the fire tonight at 7 p.m. More information at the Sweet Creek MP2 Fire Facebook page.

Elia Newton Pendergrass, 44, of Mapleton was arrested for arson in the first degree. The Lane County Sheriff thanked community members for tips that led to the arrest. Three fires detected Sunday were combined into the more than 500 acre Sweet Creek MP 2 Fire. Crews have built a perimeter around the fire and are hoping to shore up those lines as temperatures are forecast to increase this week.

Jamie Knight is with Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management team 1 which took over the fire Monday.

“There’s definitely a desire to get some of those lines improved as quickly as we can but I think that would be the desire regardless of the weather forecast.” Knight said.

Knight said fire crews are observing COVID 19 protocols.

“We’re definitely taking COVID very seriously and looking for every opportunity that we can to promote social distancing and handwashing and face masks and all of the things that everyone are doing, but doing it in a little more interesting environment.” Knight said.

Fire crews are unable to accept food donations because of coronavirus concerns.

The Lane County Sheriff issued evacuation orders for some residents in the area. Hadsall Creek Road is under a Level 3 (Go) evacuation order and Sweet Creek Road is under Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation order. There’s a Level 1 (Be Ready) evacuation order for Bernhardt Creek Road and Duncan Island Road. 


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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