Wildfires Continue to Burn Statewide, Leading to ‘Unhealthy’ Air and Evacuations

Sep 3, 2017

The U.S. Forest Service says there are 25 large wildfires in the region that have consumed over 367,000 acres. The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency deemed the air quality "unhealthy" on Saturday.

View from Whitewater Fire lookout.
Credit U.S. Forest Service

The Chetco Bar Fire has grown to almost 143,000 acres.

The Milli Fire is burning more than 22,000 acres in Central Oregon. Residents living south and west of Sisters should be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Those along Route 126 from milepost 45 on the McKenzie Highway east to milepost 16 are also being asked to be ready to evacuate. This includes the communities of Rainbow, McKenzie Bridge, and Belknap Springs. For all areas affected by these notices, the quickest route to safety is west of 126 towards Springfield.

The Forest Service evacuated 140 hikers from the Columbia River Gorge on Saturday after a wildfire started burning nearby.

The fire started around the Eagle Creek hiking trail, which is now closed.

It’s burning near the 373 acre Indian Creek Fire, which has been burning in steep terrain and brush since July 4th. It’s 10% contained.

Warm temperatures and dry conditions caused the fires to grow rapidly. At times, a large plume of smoke was visible from miles away.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says people traveling between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon should be prepared for traffic delays due to wildfires.