SISTERS, Ore. -

The Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce wants to assure people that Sisters is open for business despite the Pole Creek Fire currently burning southwest of town. The smoke dissipates in the afternoon revealing sunny skies; local businesses and major highways are open.

"We appreciate all of the things the fire crews are doing to help suppress the Pole Creek Fire around Sisters," says Jeri Buckmann, Events Director of the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce. "Business are still open, and visitors are invited to join us for some great shopping, dining and events throughout Sisters Country."

Greg Willitts of FivePine Lodge & Conference Center in Sisters noted that the smoke is expected to lessen in the coming days according to forecasted weather conditions. "Within two days the level of smoke is expected to decrease significantly, and with the continued efforts of the Forest Service, BLM, and fire crews, Sisters is well protected."

The Central Oregon Incident Management Team, under joint authority from the Deschutes National Forest and the Oregon Department of Forestry, assumed command of the Pole Creek Fire. The 17,500 acre blaze is reported at 15% containment.

At this time all major highways remain open but the current closure area still includes Forest Roads 15 & 16 (Three Creeks Rd) and the Pacific Crest Trail. Closed roads are signed, barricaded, and/or staffed to advise the public of the closure.

Pre-evacuation alerts have been issued to residents in the Crossroads and Edgington/Remuda areas and other neighborhoods west of the 16 Road and south of Highway 20 in the vicinity of Sisters.

Despite the Pole Creek Fire, business continues in Sisters, and restaurants, shops, and lodges are open.

"People here know what they're doing when it comes to forest fires," said Buckmann. "The fire crews have responded quickly and they are working to get the fire under control."

Roger White, owner of the Camp Sherman Store, reported that the Camp Sherman and Metolius River area northwest of Sisters have been clear, sunny and warm. Visitors in Sisters Country can still experience all that the Metolius River area has to offer, including world-class fishing, camping and recreational opportunities.

Mary Maiden of Lake Creek Lodge agrees that it's a good time to visit the Camp Sherman area. "It's been mostly clear and the smell has not affected us," she stated.

For more information on Sisters visit the Sisters Area Chamber of Commerce website at www.sisterscountry.com or call 541-549-0251 and for the most current information on the Pole Creek Fire please visit http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3244/.