Central Oregon

Worried residents pack Sisters school for wildfire news

Pole Creek Fire now 4,300 acres; runner tells of escape

Pole Creek Fire continues to grow near Sisters

SISTERS, Ore. - The Pole Creek Fire burning south of Sisters grew to 4,300 acres Monday, as crews worked on the ground and by the air to try and stop it.

"There was growth in almost every direction today, just with the winds that we've had," said Jean Nelson-Dean, public information officer for the Deschutes National Forest.

Several homes in the Crossroads subdivision have been put on pre-evacuation notice, but no one has been asked to leave yet.

As residents prepare to possibly leave, fire bosses held a public meeting Monday night at Sisters Elementary School, where more than 300 people showed up.

"It's scary," said Jeanne Fairman of Sisters, "especially in the evening when its red and rather ominous-looking."

Fairman, who has lived in Sisters for the past six years, says she's not taking any chances with the fire. She postponed a trip out of town, saying far too many times Mother Nature has stirred up trouble.

"I've seen people leave, thinking that everything was okay, and come back and have their homes or businesses destroyed," said Fairman.

At the public meeting, one man asked why the fire wasn't stopped when the blaze was only a few acres.

A fire boss who said he was the first one on scene told the man he ordered air support, but because resources are spread so thin this summer, crews were unable to get it quickly.

He said he watched as the smallest spark erupted into flames and trees began to torch, spreading from one tree to four trees to dozens of trees.

As the meeting continued, Sisters Fire Chief Roger Johnson said his department was prepared and ready to protect homes if it was needed.

Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton jokingly told the crowd 'Here we go again.' He then echoed Johnson's statement, adding that if you are evacuated, don't wait and get prepared now, in case the the fire heads for homes.

Also on Monday, Bend ultra runner Ian Sharman shared his experience after he and his running partner were nearly trapped by the flames Sunday.

"I have never been that close to a fire."said Sharman. "I mean, that was kind of freaky, seeing it."

Sharman said the two had set out on a run from the Pole Creek Trail Head earlier that morning. He said they saw smoke and made their way back to their car. Sharman says when they got to the trail head he could hardly see five feet in front of his face.

"We got up to the smoke, to the car on fire," said Sharman."It was only when we were trying to find a way past it that I pointed out that there was a car on fire."

Deschutes County sheriffs deputies say in total four cars were burned by the fire. They added that they have spoken to everyone in the area and are still trying to figure out how the fire may have started.

As smoke continued to billow into the sky Monday night, fire officials say they are pushing for more resources on the ground and in the air to stop the blaze before anymore property is destroyed.

For the latest on the Pole Creek Fire and evacuations click here

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