"If you have large animals, now may be a good time to load and relocate them," the statement said.

Also, anyone with friends or family who had been hiking or staying in the Pole Creek area that have not checked in was urged to call 911 with their names and last known location or plans.

The cause of the fire was not yet known, although dry lightning strikes -- at least 40 in Oregon, 3,500 in Washington overnight -- had sparked several new blazes around the Northwest.

As winds pushed the Pole Creek Fire toward the northeast, ODOT at mid-afternoon shut Highway 242 (the McKenzie Pass Highway) from milepost 89 (the Trout Creek intersection) on the east side to White Branch Road on the west side.

Forest Service Roads 15 (Pole Creek Road) and 16 (Three Creeks Road) also were closed due to the fire, from which ash was falling as far away as Crooked River Ranch and southwest Redmond

People were being urged to stay out of the area as dozens if not hundreds of campers and hikers were evacuated, with numerous forest roads and trails being closed to keep people out.

An air tanker joined three water-dropping helicopters battling the blaze, along with fire crews and an engine. A Type 2 incident management team will take over management of the fire Monday as more resources are ordered in.

Four air tankers were ordered up, though some might have to instead head to a new blaze on Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest, said Jada Altman at COIDC.

“The (Pole Creek Trailhead on the wilderness boundary) parking lot is threatened at this time,” Altman said. “We’re trying to get folks out of the way of the fire, not headed to their cars.”

Smoke jumpers were called in early on, but were unable to deploy due to the winds, Altman said.

Fire managers and 911 dispatchers urged people to stay out of the area and said those in the area were being urged to evacuate to Park Meadow or the Obsidian Trailhead for further evacuations.

If they can't get there, they need to get to a "safe zone," dispatchers said -- that being anywhere they are not surrounded by timber, or to head to a body of water for safety.

While SAR teams and deputies worked to get campers and hikers out of the area, others knocked at the doors at homes scattered in the woods along Three Creeks Road and elsewhere south of Sisters, advising residents to be ready to leave should the fire move closer.

The county's reverse-911 system was being employed to give that pre-evacuation alert message to a wide area, including Crossroads, west of Sisters.

The fire broke out just as the National Weather Service imposed a Red Flag Warning over a wide area through 11 p.m. Monday due to potentially explosive fire behavior as winds kick up ahead of a cold front, with gusts of 30-40 mph possible.