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Rum Creek Fire in southwest Oregon surpasses 10,000 acres

A helicopter delivers water to fight the Rum Creek Fire on Saturday.
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A helicopter delivers water to fight the Rum Creek Fire on Saturday.

A wildfire in southwest Oregon continued to grow Monday, authorities with the National Interagency Fire Center said. The Rum Creek Fire now covers more than 10,700 acres. That’s up from 1,200 acres on Friday.

On Sunday evening, Josephine County Sheriff’s Office issued additional Level 2 – Be Set and Level 1 – Be Ready evacuation notifications in and around the town of Merlin. An interactive map showing evacuation levels according to address can be found here

A heat wave that has moved into the area could worsen the situation and make it easier for fuels to burn, officials said. With much of the region in drought, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency on Sunday due to the imminent threat of wildfires statewide, which Brown said was unlikely to recede in the near future. The order allows National Guard troops to deploy and respond to fires as needed throughout the remainder of the wildfire season.

The fire was started by lightning Aug. 17 and killed Logan Taylor, a 25-year-old firefighter, after he was struck by a tree the next day. Brown ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff Monday in honor of Taylor, with his memorial service to be held the same day.

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