Earlier Monday, the size estimate increased to 2,000 acres after successful burnout operations -- and the winds turned in a favorable direction, away from populated areas, officials said.
"We did have a successful burnout last night," said Tory Kurtz at COIDC in Prineville.
In an update early Monday afternoon, fire managers said the winds were pushing the fire toward the west and southwest, into the Three Sisters Wilderness Area (and away from threatened homes).
Meanwhile, numerous parked vehicles from the Pole Creek Trailhead were being towed out of the forest Monday. Four were destroyed by flames, a few others damaged and the rest undamaged (but whose owners were evacuated in the face of the fire.) Other hikers who had been out in the woods when the fire broke out were escorted out of the area.
The smoke that sent up a tall, billowing plume for much of Sunday had laid down overnight, making it hard to see the fire's status from afar until Monday afternoon. But a good sign of progress (and shifting winds) was ODOT's decision to reopen Highway 242 (the McKenzie Pass Highway) Monday morning.
Winds were a concern once again Monday, with forecasts for winds up to 25 mph until 6 pm.
"This is a fuel-driven fire with heavy down and dead material," the Monday morning update said. "Safety for the public and firefighters is the number one priority because of the high exposure to snags and bug kill timber. The cause of the fire is still under investigation."
A successful burnout operation was conducted on the south side Sunday evening in an attempt to secure a portion of the fire and give firefighters a safe anchor point from which to strengthen their efforts.
As crews respond to the scene, a Type II management team was set to assume command by 8 p..m. Monday, The fire camp was being set up at the Sisters Rodeo grounds Monday.
"Safety for the public and firefighters is the number one priority because of the high exposure to snags and bug kill timber," the update said.
.An emergency area closure was in place south of Hwy 242 (McKenzie Pass) following the Deschutes County line west, then south near Three Creek Lake and east to Forest Service Rroad 4606.
The fire has an InciWeb page for the latest information.
The pre-evacuation notice is still in place. For more information on the status of evacuations, call 541-550-4886 for the most up to date information.
They said the fire remains six to seven miles south of Sisters and did not move closer overnight -- in fact, the wind shifted around 3 a.m., causing the fire to burn back into itself.
While fire bosses at a briefing shared good progress in developing fire lines, residents south of Sisters were warned to "remain vigilant and prepared to evacuate if necessary," since increased winds forecast could shift and push the fire back toward the north, testing fire lines.
Winds pushed the blaze through live and downed timber Sunday, torching four vehicles parked in the area and prompting evacuations of campsites and trails over a wide area southwest of Sisters.
A tall billowing smoke plume was visible across the High Desert and beyond in the blue late summer sky from the Pole Creek Fire that began near the eastern border of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area.
As winds pushed the blaze northeast, the smoke plume dropped in that direction for much of the afternoon, and lightened as plenty of water and retardant was poured onto it. But by early Sunday evening, the plume darkened and was billowing straight up once again, reaching high into the sky.
The fire was reported around 10:45 a.m. by Deschutes County 911 dispatchers to the COIDC.
By 1 p.m., the fire, moving through timber and downed trees, had grown to at least 150 acres and was growing very fast in blustery winds, officials said.
It grew another 10-fold in size by 4:30 p.m., as crews prepared for burnout operations to rob the advancing fire of fuel.
By 5 p.m., authorities said that everyone had been evacuated from the closure area, including the Three Creeks Campground. They also confirmed four vehicles in the fire area had been destroyed and several others sustained damage. They also again urged everyone to stay out of the area, for safety sake.
A precautionary, pre-evacuation notice was issued Sunday afternoon for the Crossroads subdivision west of Sisters, as well as homes along Edgington, Remuda Road and homes along Forest Road 16 (Three Creeks Road), said Kristen Bowles at the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center in Prineville.
The sheriff's office said residents south of Sisters were given a pre-evacuation notice to warn them to prepare and to be ready to leave immediately. Plans are in place, in case evacuation is required.