Wildfire forces evacuations near Glendale, Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. — Sheriff’s deputies have evacuated homes near the southwest Oregon city of Glendale because of wildfires.

The evacuations began Saturday afternoon and encompassed all homes west of McCullough Creek Road and south to Reuben Road, said Kyle Reed, a spokesman for the Douglas Forest Protective Association.

Reed could not estimate how many homes were evacuated. He said no houses had been lost.

Residents east of McCullough Creek Road to the mill west of Glendale have been told to prepare for a possible evacuation.

The Douglas Complex of fires started Friday after 54 blazes were ignited by lightning. Some of the fires since joined together, and they have combined to scorch about 7,500 acres.

Most of the fires are in the Cow Creek Canyon west of Glendale.

“The current conditions around Douglas County are prime for rapid fire growth,” Reed said.

Ryan Sandler, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told the News-Review of Roseburg that the hot, dry and windy conditions will hamper firefighting efforts.

“The conditions are dry, the fields are dry, the humidity is low, and we are expecting some gusty winds this afternoon and tomorrow,” he said Saturday. “I think they are going to have their hands full trying to contain the fires this weekend.”

Sandler said wind gusts could be as much as 20 to 25 mph and coming from the north and northwest. The wind direction will likely keep smoke away from Roseburg and push it toward Medford and Northern California.

Also in southwest Oregon, the Labrador fire on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has grown to about 300 acres and remains active. The fire is located west of the Illinois River, burning close to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

Elsewhere in Oregon, all roads closed by the Sunnyside Turnoff fire in Central Oregon are now open and an evacuation alert has been lifted.

Fire managers said the wildfire that has burned across more than 76 square miles is now 60 percent contained and full containment is expected in a few days. The fire is located on lands of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, east of Highway 26.

Nearly 1,000 people were assigned to battle Oregon’s largest wildfire. Some, however, are being released to fight new blazes in Oregon and Washington.

Lightning started a handful of small wildfires in southeast Oregon, and officials worry there could be additional flare-ups this weekend.

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