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Prescribed burn jumps lines near McKenzie Bridge

 A column of smoke rises through trees on a mountainside.
Submitted photo
Cookie Swetland
This photo of the "W-470 Fire" was taken from the McKenzie General Store parking lot and was submitted by area resident Cookie Swetland

Firefighters are battling a blaze near McKenzie Bridge that started when a prescribed fire jumped the lines Tuesday afternoon.

Officials say unexpectedly gusty winds pushed the burn outside the designated area.

The fire has burned roughly 120 acres, according to the Willamette National Forest, and is located about two miles northeast of the McKenzie River ranger station in eastern Lane County. It's been dubbed the "W-470 Fire."

No evacuations are in effect, but forest officials say people in the Highway 126 corridor may see or smell smoke from the fire.

The fire is "wracking frayed nerves up here," said local resident Cookie Swetland. The community is still recovering from 2020's Holiday Farm Fire, which destroyed hundreds of homes in the area.

A helicopter assigned to fight the fire "was unable to make multiple passes...due to high winds at the water dip site," forest officials said Wednesday evening. "Nevertheless, ground crews continue to make progress building control line around the fire."

KLCC's Tiffany Eckert contributed to this story.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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