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Rain helps to tamp down fire activity in Western Oregon

A firefighter working on the Tyee Ridge Complex of fires
A firefighter working on the Tyee Ridge Complex of fires

Tyee Ridge Complex in Douglas County

Some evacuation notices, including all Level 3 - Go Now notices, have been downgraded for the Tyee Ridge Complex Fire, as of Friday.

There are still Level 2 and 1 evacuation notices in place. In a video on Facebook, Douglas County Sheriff's Lt. Brad O’Dell urged people returning to their homes to be cautious and drive with care.

“You need to be aware that there’s still a large amount of firefighting equipment, personnel, and large vehicles in the roadway,” said O’Dell. “It’s really important that you’re aware of that and reduce your speed and be cautious as you’re traveling to and from.”

The Red Cross Shelter in Sutherlin will close Saturday. O’Dell said there will still be accommodation for animals evacuated from the fire.

The Tyree Ridge complex, which includes 10 fires, is 10 miles west of Sutherlin and 6,674 acres and 5% contained as of Friday. It was sparked last week by lightning.

Lookout, Pothole, and Horse Creek Fires

There are still a number of Level 3 - Go Now evacuations in place for the Lookout Fire near McKenzie Bridge. But the Lane County Sheriff Friday reduced an area north of Highway 126 to Level 2- Be Set.

The fire is more than 24 thousand acres and 20 percent contained. It was sparked by lightning on August 5. Crews are also battling two smaller lightning sparked fires in the area– the Pothole and Horse Creek fires, which started last week.

Firefighting is being helped by cooler weather and rain. But the area is very dry which means fire danger is far from over.

Officials are also asking for people driving in the area to be careful since smoke and rainy conditions make visibility difficult.

Brice Creek, Dinner, and Grizzly Fire

Officials say they don’t expect much growth over the next few days on three lightning-caused fires in the Umpqua national forest east of Cottage Grove. The fires are burning in very steep and difficult terrain posing access challenges as well as hazards to firefighter safety. Although weather conditions are expected to moderate in the coming days, fuels are extremely dry from moderate to severe drought conditions

The Brice Creek Fire is 583 acres. The Dinner Fire is 329 acres, and the Grizzly Fire is 92 acres. They started August 24 and have 0% containment as of Friday.

Lane County issued a Level 2 Evacuation (Be Set) for all private lands and mining claims in the Bohemia areas within the Cottage Grove Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest

There will be a virtual community meeting with information on the Brice Creek, Dinner, and Grizzly Fires on Friday, September 1 at 7:30 PM via Facebook Live on the Brice Creek, Dinner, and Grizzly Fire Facebook page.

Questions can be submitted via the Facebook page or 2023.dinner@firenet.gov ahead of time.

Three Buttes Fire

An emergency closure order has been issued for the Three Buttes Fire area on the Siuslaw National Forest for public and firefighter safety.
The lightning-caused Three Buttes Fire, located 15 miles northeast of Florence, was reported on August 25 and is approximately 144 acres.
The closure order will be in effect through September 30th.

Although there are no recreation sites located inside the closure area, several popular Forest Service Roads (FSR) are partially closed.

  • FSR 58 (Herman Peak Road) is closed from its intersection with FSR 5842 (Mercer View Drive) heading northeast to its intersection with FSR 5082 (Big Creek Road).
  • The closure includes a section of FSR 1057 (Cape Creek Road) west from its intersection with FSR 58 (Herman Peak Road) that is a little over a mile in length.

For the complete Three Buttes Fire closure order, including a map of the closure area, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd1135475.pdf

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.