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C.O. wildfire update: Smoke shifts, fires grow, merge

Level pre-evacuation on west side of Hwy. 242

REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: More on Milli Fire interior burning, Level 1 pre-evacuation along Highway 242 west of the Cascades crest)

Although air quality conditions improved Friday for a second day in a row, wildfires throughout Central Oregon showed increased fire behavior and the smoke was returning to many areas late in the day, fire managers said.

By early evening, no new fire starts had been reported, although engines responded to one abandoned campfire south of Bend.

"Please remember that campfires are banned on all federal lands in Central Oregon due to high fire danger," the evening update stated.

The Potato Hill Fire was at 165 acres near Highway 20 on Friday, with pilot cars still guiding traffic through the Santiam Pass area.

McKay Fire - Located east of Highway 97 and north of Deschutes County Road 21 near McKay Butte, the McKay Fire was at 1,221 acres and 60 percent contained.

Progress continues as firefighters work to mop up all hot spots that could threaten containment and patrol for spots outside the lines. Firefighters are requesting that the public stay out of the fire area between Forest Service roads 9735 and 9720. 

Nash Fire – Burning in the Willamette National Forest north of Nash Lake, the Nash Fire, 2,448 acres as of Friday morning, and the 4,574-are Separation Fire were extremely active Friday and grew together into one fire.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level 2 evacuation notification for the Elk Lake and Hosmer Lake areas and a Level 1 notification for areas surrounding Lava Lake.

"Currently, the Cascade Lakes Highway, Forest Service Road 46, remains open," the update stated.

Level Two: Elk Lake Resort, Elk Lake Campground (CG), Point CG, Little Fawn CG, Mallard Marsh CG, Sunset View Day Use Area, Beach Day Use Area, and Quinn Meadows Horse Camp.

Level One: Lava Lake Resort, Lava Lake CG, and Little Lava Lake CG. 

Level One (pre-evacuation) means “Be Ready” for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. Level Two evacuation means “Be Set” to evacuate. You must prepare to leave at a moment’s notice. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area. For information on these evacuation notifications, you can call the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office at 541-693-6911.

For information on the Nash Fire, call the Milli Fire Information Line at 541-719-8135.

Milli Fire – Located west of Sisters was at 22,718 acres and 44 percent contained. Smoke from interior burning was apparent Friday throughout Sisters and Black Butte Ranch, but is not a threat to containment lines.

Officials also said a 20- to 30-acre area on the Milli Fire was burning within the fire lines, putting up a lot of visible smoke. They said there was no threat to the containment lines. 

Meanwhile, Lane County Emergency Management issued a Level 1 (Be Ready) pre-evacuation notice for campgrounds along the west side of Highway 242 (the Old McKenzie Pass Highway).  

The east end of the highway has been shut for over a week due to the Milli Fire. 

The county advised residents and campers to be ready to leave due to potential fire danger in nearby forests.  

"Specifically, Camp Yale, Foley Hot Springs, Camp White Branch and Camp Melakwa are advised to prepare to evacuate,” the announcement said. "From these locations, the quickest route to safety is west on (Highway) 242 to Highway 126. 

"This is the lowest level of evacuation notice to advise people in the area that they may be asked to evacuate if fire behavior worsens over the weekend.  For people in proximity to Route 242 this is the time to move people with special needs, large animals, vehicles and equipment,” the announcement said. 

Level 1 and 2 evacuations are still in place for residential areas outside of Sisters and a closure is in place for the area surrounding the Milli Fire. For more information on the Milli Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5517 or call the Milli Fire Information Line at 541-719-8135.

For information on air quality, visit http://www.deq.state.or.us/aqi/  or http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/

For road conditions and closures due to wildfires, visit tripcheck.com.

For more information, follow us at http://centralorfireinfo.blogspot.com/ or on Twitter at @CentralORFire. For the Central Oregon Fire Information hotline, please call 541-316-7711.

For the latest on major fires across Oregon, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/38/


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