800-acre S. Oregon wildfire prompts evacuations

Updates on Ramsey Canyon, other Oregon fires

GOLD HILL, Ore. - (Update: Adding Level 2 evacuation notice on Lake County Fire)

Governor Kate Brown declared the Ramsey Canyon Fire, burning near Sams Valley in Jackson County, a conflagration Wednesday night and it was estimated at 800 acres Thursday morning. The declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of State Marshal’s Green Incident Management Team and four structural task forces from Lincoln, Klamath, Coos and Lane counties were set to arrive Thursday and begin working to protect structures. Two additional task forces from Lane and Linn-Benton counties will arrive on scene in the evening to work the night shift.

 A Level 3 evacuation order was put in place for Ramsey Road, beginning at address 13469 and proceeding north to the Meadows Rd. intersection, and Meadows Road, proceeding south from East Evans to include the address of 17000.

A Level 2 evacuation notice was in place for East Evans Creek Road, from West Fork Evans Creek Road beginning with the address 16840 to Antioch Road ending at the address 22185; Meadows Road, the addresses 16840, 16880, 16901, and 16933.

Oregon’s conflagration may be invoked only by the governor and allows the state fire marshal to dispatch structural firefighters and equipment.

More information on the fire and evacuations is available at the Ramsey Canyon Facebook page.

One new wildfire broke out Thursday evening in Central Oregon, near the BNSF Railway tracks about eight miles north of Madras, in the Gateway area. It had burned about 53 acres by Thursday morning on a mix of private and BLM-managed land and was not growing in size, Forest Service spokeswoman Lauren DuRocher said. The railroad tracks were closed for a time but later reopened. The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Here's Thursday morning's update on the Stubblefield, Lonerock and Jennie's Peak fires in Wheeler and Gilliam counties that have now burned a combined total of over 100,000 acres:

There will be a community meeting tonight at the Condon Fire Station, 220 N. Main Street, at 5:30 p.m. Last night firefighters continued to mop up and patrol the firel ines around the Stubblefield Fire, looking for, and extinguishing any smoke or fire near the fire line.

Today, the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal Incident Management Team will be returning to their home jurisdictions, due to the diminished risk to homes in Gilliam County. The wildland incident management team, NW Team 7, will continue to work with local structural firefighters, as needed, to manage the fires. This afternoon, for the Stubblefield and Lonerock Fires, there is a Fire Weather Watch for high winds, low relative humidity, and high temperatures, which could test the firefighting efforts.

Stubblefield Fire (now includes Seale Fire) – The fire is currently 70% contained and is 57,703 acres (combined acreage between Stubblefield and Seale Fires). The fire was active yesterday on the far western flank, crossing Buckskin Canyon, and currently is holding at the ridge above Buckskin Canyon where there is a containment line. The fire remains on the east side of the John Day River. All other established containment lines held, and crews continued to mop up any hot spots.

Lonerock Fire – This fire is now 75% contained and did not grow yesterday. The fire size remains at 5,056 acres. Crews mainly worked the southeastern flank of the fire yesterday to continue to strengthen the remaining fire line. Most remaining smoke and torching was on the interior part of the fire, away from the fire edge.

Jennie’s Peak – This fire is 65% contained and 39,000 acres. Last night the fire was active in the northeast flank, with a 70 acre spot fire. There is fire line around the spot, and crews will continue to work on improving the fireline today. Burnout will continue as firefighting efforts and weather allow, steering the fire towards the old Porcupine Fire burn from both the east and west. The fire continues to hold along the John Day River, staying north and east of the river.

Yesterday, all Level 3 evacuations were reduced to Level 2, and Level 2 evacuations were reduced to Level 1. Evacuation levels will continue to be evaluated daily.

In Lake County, the Watson Creek Fire 13 miles west of Paisley has burned 40,272 acres and is 10 percent contained, according to the NW Interagency Coordination Center, which also has info on major fires burning across the region.

Later Thursday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office initiated a Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation alert west of Highway 31 from Beachler’s Corner (mile post 105) north on Highway 31 to the 29 Road, also known as Government Harvey Pass Road. That includes the town of Paisley west of Highway 31. The area east of Highway 31 was on a Level 1 (Get Ready) preevacuation notice.

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