Castle Fire closes campground, another on alert

About 200 firefighters work to squash blaze in its infancy

Crews optimistic to close up work on Castle Fire

CULVER, Ore. - A 16-acre blaze between Culver and Sisters, south of the Metolius River, has closed one campground and put another one on alert.

Deschutes National Forest officials held a meeting on the fire Monday night at the Lake Chinook Village store to talk about the status of the fire and answer questions.

Fire officials told NewsChannel 21 on Monday that the blaze is smaller than the initial estimate of 22 acres, but is of enough concern to warrant about 200 firefighters.

They said the  unique location of the fire, on both rugged terrain and near a canyon, gives it the potential of becoming very large quickly.

As of Monday night, officials said good progress has been made and the fire is 30 percent contained. But they said they are still worried the fire could blow up.

Monty Campground is currently closed, but fire officials said nobody was camping there when it was shut down over the weekend.

About seven miles from the flames, the Perry South Campground is on a Level 1 evacuation notice. About a dozen campers have been warned to be ready to pack up and leave if the fire gets worse.

"Last night, they were telling us to wait to set up the tent, because we might be evacuated -- and luckily we weren't evacuated," camper Kim Meeker said. "We think we'll be fine until they just tell us we can't be here any more. I'm just going to enjoy the time that I have."

The fire also also closed Forest Roads 11 and 1170 and portions of Jefferson County Road 64.

A few private residences closer to the blaze than the Perry South Campground have not been placed on any evacuation notices, said Jefferson County Sheriff Jim Adkins.

The nearby Three Rivers Recreation Area has about 650 homes, of which fewer than 100 have full-time residents. Although the area is not on alert, many residents said they would attend the community meeting.

Resident Arlene Mizer said even though her area has been put on wildfire notice several times before, she never really gets used to the threat that comes along with the remote and brushy location.

"I have a very healthy respect for fire," Mizer said. "Even if they're 10 miles away, they are still a concern, because the wind can shift, pick up -- anything can happen. You just don't know."

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