Officials in Marion County issued Level 3 “GO” evacuation orders for residents in Santiam Canyon as the Beachie Creek fire continued to spread amid dry conditions and high winds Tuesday morning.
On Monday, residents living in the canyon from the community of Mehama east to Detroit— including Mill City, Gates, Detroit, the North Fork corridor, Scotts Mills and south through the Crooked Finger area—were told to leave immediately. Evacuation orders were expanded early Tuesday to include the area west of the Mehama community to Cascade Highway Southeast and north to Highway 214.
Silver Falls State Park was also being evacuated Tuesday morning, officials said.
Officials opened an evacuation staging area at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, located at 2330 17th St Northeast in Salem and a second evacuation staging area was established at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.
“We care deeply about the safety of all of our community members. The extreme fire activity in the area poses an imminent danger to anyone who chooses to remain in the evacuated area,” Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said in a statement. “I encourage anyone still in the Santiam Canyon to leave immediately following the deputies out of the area. I cannot say when the conditions will allow deputies and other emergency responders to return to the area to render assistance. Please leave now.”
Eastbound Highway 22 was closed to allow residents to evacuate from Stayton to Santiam Junction.
The Beachie Creek fire started on Aug. 16 in the Opal Creek Wilderness about 6 miles north of Detroit. The blaze was expected to continue its spread Tuesday with high winds forecast for the area and a red flag warning through 8 p.m.
Several smaller fires were also burning around the Portland metro area Tuesday morning. Firefighters issued Level 2 “GET SET” evacuation orders for Dundee Road in Washington County after a fast-moving brush fire closed the boat ramp and surrounding park at Hagg Lake. Around 9:30 a.m., Firefighters from Forest Grove expanded Level 1 “GET READY” evacuation orders as the fire spread.
Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue was working to put out several small fires near Jackson Quarry Road and West Union Road that were sparked by a downed power line.
In Lincoln County, on the Oregon Coast, at least three wildfires were burning. A blaze on Echo Mountain Road and another on Kimberling Mountain Road, both off of Highway 18, had resulted in evacuation notices. The third fire, burning near milepost 4 on Highway 34 near Waldport, had been contained, officials said.
The Lionshead fire, burning not far from the Beachie Creek fire, prompted evacuations for the Breitenbush Hot Springs resort and the Devil’s Creek community. In Klamath County, a wildfire discovered Monday night on the Chiloquin Ranger District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest moved three miles over the course of the evening, spreading to more than 1,000 acres with no containment by midnight. The Two Four Two fire, as it’s now called, jumped U.S. 97 and is now burning on both sides, exhibiting “extreme fire behavior,” officials said. Evacuation orders were issued for some areas and others were told to prepare to leave.
This story will be updated.
— Kale Williams; [email protected]; 503-294-4048; @sfkale