SISTERS, Ore. - (Update: Residents return home; evening update; area closure expanded)
The Milli Fire has grown to nearly 12,500 acres, but the hard work of nearly 700 firefighters allowed officials on Wednesday to lift the Level 3 evacuation order for the hundreds who have been out of their homes since last Friday.
Here's the full announcement from the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office:
Due to progress on the Milli Fire, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is reducing evacuation levels in all areas previously under Level 3 Evacuation Notice to a Level 2 Evacuation "Be Set". This includes:
Petersen Burn Rd
Three Creeks Rd
These areas are now currently Level 2 (Be Set).
Level 2: 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, and residents should either voluntary relocate to a shelter or with family and friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk. This may be the only notice you receive. Emergency services cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate. Area media services will be asked to broadcast periodic updates.
A Level 1 (BE READY) Pre-Evacuation notice is still in effect for the following areas:
All areas between Highway 242 and Highway 20 from the Cold Springs Campground to the city of Sisters, which includes the Tollgate Subdivision and Black Butte Ranch.
Level 1: 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. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movements of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.
This decision was made after consultation with fire managers. We will continue to work with fire managers to ensure public safety and prevent conflicts between citizens and fire operations. We appreciate the cooperation and understanding of residents.
With changes in evacuation status, the American Red Cross shelter at the Sisters Middle School will provide lunch and dinner to clients today and then is scheduled to close this evening. The Red Cross will operate an Emergency Aid Station on Thursday at the Middle School location where the public is welcome to drop in between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for breakfast, lunch, snacks, to escape fire smoke, and to access current fire information.
Fire is a concern for everyone living in the wildland urban interface. Reducing the severity and amount of damage caused by wildfire in these areas through hazardous fuels reduction projects, vegetation treatments, and fire resistant landscaping, have been proven as a means of mitigating wildfire hazards, to lessen catastrophic fire and its threat to public and firefighter safety, and damage to property. Technical assistance in Deschutes County is provided by Project Wildfire, www.projectwildfire.org.
Follow the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office on Twitter and Facebook @DeschutesSO
Current maps including evacuation areas can be found at:
For fire information, you can visit the Central Oregon Fire Information site at:
Follow Central Oregon Emergency Information Network on Twitter and Facebook @COEmergencyInfo
And here's the Wednesday evening fire update:
Wednesday evening, an announcement was issued of an expanded area closure:
The northern edge of the area closure currently in place on the Sisters Ranger District has extended to the south of Glaze Meadow and Black Butte Ranch.
While the Milli Fire remains south of Highway 242, fire officials have coordinated with the Deschutes National Forest to extend the closure area. The closure offers operational opportunities for firefighters to build contingency fire line north of the highway.
The additional area includes lands west of Forest Road 1008 up south of Glaze Meadow to Forest Road 2060 and its junction with Highway 20. The closure follows a variety of Forest Roads and ties in the Hortense Lake Trailhead that accesses the Mt. Washington Wilderness area. All other closure boundaries remain in place.
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has downgraded evacuation notices for the Crossroads subdivision, Edgington Road, Remuda Road, Peterson Burn Road, Wild Wing and Three Creeks Road residences to Level 2 (Be Set) Evacuation Notice, allowing residents to return to their homes. However, the area closure remains in place for the surrounding public lands due to continued active fire in the area. The closure includes Forest Road 16 and all of the following:
Black Crater Trail #4058, Millican Crater Trail #4066, Scott Pass Trail #4068, North Matthieu Lake Trail #4062, Trout Creek Tie Trail #4067, Millian Crater Trailhead, Scott Pass Trailhead, Whispering Pines Campground, Trout Creek Swamp, Sisters Cow Camp, Chush Falls Trail #4080, Pole Creek Trail #4072 & Trailhead, Metolius Windigo Trail #99 from the Highway 242 crossing to the trail junction with the FSR 4601, Whychus Overlook Trail, Whychus Creek Trail, Demaris Lake Trail #4074.1, Camp Lake Trail #4074, Park Meadow Trail #4075 & Trailhead, Three Creek Lake Campgrounds & associated trails, Tam McArthur Rim TH, Peterson Ridge Trail System.
Graham Corral Horse Camp remains open but is under a Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notice along with all areas between Oregon State Highway 242 and Highway 20 and west of Cold Springs Cutoff (Forest Road 1018), which includes Black Butte Ranch.
The Pacific Crest Trail closure remains in place beginning at Elk Lake and extending to Highway 242. Hikers are encouraged to get a ride north to Breitenbush Lake, or take public transit north toward Government Camp near Mt. Hood. See www.pcta.org.
The public is encouraged to KNOW BEFORE YOU GO by contacting the Sisters Ranger District office at 541-549-7700 if you plan to visit the area.