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Lookout Fire grows north of Highway 126 near McKenzie Bridge

Smoke from the Lookout Fire was visible Sunday from Tokatee Golf Course in McKenzie Bridge
Smoke from the Lookout Fire was visible Sunday from Tokatee Golf Course in McKenzie Bridge

A lightning sparked fire that’s been burning since August 5th in the Willamette National Forest grew to 1,202 acres on Sunday.

Triple-digit temperatures and winds fueled the Lookout Fire. Its rapid growth prompted Level 3- or "Go Now" - evacuations for some residents of McKenzie Bridge.

Gov. Tina Kotek declared the Lookout Fire a conflagration Sunday

“We’re putting in lots of orders for more machinery, more helicopters, more boots-on-the-ground firefighters, more engines,” said Doug Epperson, a public information officer for the Lookout Fire. “We’re going to be gaining about 60-80 people per day. And anticipate that ramp-up happening in the near future.”

Epperson said conditions for this fire are different than when the Holiday Farm Fire savaged the McKenzie River Valley in 2020. That blaze was fed by 60-mph winds and grew to 173,373 acres.

The Lookout Fire grew by 800 acres Sunday. Epperson said they’re hoping to update the acreage with infrared flights Monday.

The Lookout Fire is 3 to 4 miles from the town of McKenzie Bridge.

Epperson said the Level 3- "Go now" - evacuations issued by the Lane County Sheriff are for areas north of Highway 126. People south of the highway are on Level 1- "Be Ready" - evacuation notices.

Level 3 evacuations north of the highway, level 1 south of the highway.

The Bedrock Fire near Fall Creek has also prompted evacuations

The Bedrock Fire in the Willamette National Forest has grown to more than 22,000 acres and prompted Level 1 and Level 3 evacuation notices near Fall Creek Lake.

Red Flag weather conditions led to numerous spot fires Sunday. As activity on the Salmon Fire near Oakridge declines, fire crews and equipment are being shifted to the Bedrock Fire.

There’s a virtual community Monday at 7:30 pm at the Bedrock Fire 2023 Facebook page.

Facebook pages have been set up with information on evacuations:

Bedrock Fire Evacuation Information & Resources

Lookout Fire Evacuation Information & Resources

Copyright 2023, 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.