SISTERS, Ore. - A wildfire fueled by gusting winds had moved within 6 miles of the small town of Sisters, already surpassing 4,300 acres in Central Oregon Tuesday.
Officials said the flames were moving fast through the Three Sisters Wilderness, where there was a heavy fuel load of downed, bug-infested timber. The cause of the fire was unknown.
The blaze was also causing hazardous air quality conditions, according to DEQ monitoring stations.
Authorities have evacuated people camping and hiking in the fire area itself, and they've warned residents in the Crossroads subdivision southwest of Sisters they may have to leave.
"So, we’re all loaded up, with our 5th-wheel," said resident Robyn Holdman. "We’ve got food in boxes, we’ve got all our family photos, things that really matter, and we’re just standing by waiting to hear.”
An emergency area closure was in place south of Highway 242 (McKenzie pass) south near three creek lake and east to Forest Service (FS) road 4606.
See/send pics: Pole Creek fire near Sisters
The Pacific Crest trail would remain open, officials said. Forest Service roads 16 and 15 are closed. Highway 242 was reopened Monday. Three Creeks Campground was also being evacuated at this time.
For more information call Deschutes County Sheriff’s office non-emergency line (541) 693-6911.
The fire broke out Sunday morning near the eastern edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness area, and spread quickly. Four vehicles at a trailhead were destroyed, and several were damaged.
“They're our number one priority, the public’s safety, the firefighter’s safety, so (with) the winds, the conditions on the ground and drying of the fuels, we could have pretty active conditions for the next few days,” Fire information Officer NW Interagency Coordination Center Carol Connolly said.
A community meeting was held Monday evening at the Sisters Elementary School at 611 E Cascade Avenue.
In Washington, crews were fighting four wildfires; the Canyon Fire near Wenatchee was threatening 40 homes now facing evacuations and an additional 100 that could soon face evacuations.
The Barker Canyon Fire was burning near Coulee Dam estimated at 10,000 acres. More information about the