Fire near Estacada has grown to 3,600 acres

ESTACADA, Ore. -- The 36 Pit Fire east of Estacada has grown from 2,300 to 3,600 acres overnight, officials said during a briefing Tuesday morning.

The fire is forcing people out of their homes.

VIDEO: Watch KGW report

Bus routes impacted

People living along Fall Creek Road and Michaels Road were ordered to evacuate because the fire was steadily moving toward their homes. People living along Hillockburn Road and Tumala Mountain Road were put on a preliminary evacuation notice.

The 36 Pit Fire has created an orange haze over Estacada and Oregon City and dropping ash. More than 100 firefighters are battling it with bulldozers, water tenders, hot shot crews and by helicopter.

Click for the latest wildfire updates

The flames are spreading in grass and timber about 10 miles southeast of Estacada and jumped the Clackamas River, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The heavy smoke has stretched as far as Salem and settled into the northern Willamette Valley, causing some concerns for people with respiratory problems.

More: Keeping safe in unhealthy air conditions

The Lazy Bend campground and Silver Fox RV Park were already completely evacuated over the weekend, along with Promontory Park and the La Dee OHV area.

Evacuee Mike Rausch had to leave his home at the Silver Fox Trailer Park. Officials Monday morning said the 30 homes and buildings in the trailer park were still threatened by the fire.

"I'm hoping my trailer house doesn't burn to the ground, because I don't have insurance on it right now," he said. "I'm sweating bullets. That's all I can do. That's all I can do."

"My neighbor woke me up at around 7:30 and he said, 'There's a fire coming, pack up your stuff,'" added evacuee Levi Finn. "So I got outside and there was just smoke and ashes everywhere."

Highway 224 was closed from North Fork Reservoir east to Ripplebrook, due to hazardous fire conditions, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office. Rocks and boulders loosened by the fire had fallen onto 3 miles of the roadway.

Photos: Forest fire & smoke plume near Estacada

The smoke plume was so large Sunday that it impacted air quality and showed up in snapshots taken from a satellite in space.

More: Satellite finds huge smoke cloud from Estacada-area fire

Detectives told KGW the forest fire originated near a gravel pit where people go to practice target shooting. If the person who sparked the fire is caught, they could be fined, even if it was an accident. It is illegal to shoot at explosive targets on U.S. Forest Service land.

Officials issued a Red Flag Fire Danger Warning through 5 p.m. Tuesday due to high temperatures, low humidity, strong east winds and extremely dry conditions in the forest.

The National Weather Service warned that "critically dry fuels will create dangerous fire weather conditions and may result in rapid fire spread of new or existing fires."

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at the First Baptist Church, at 29101 SE Eagle Creek Road in Estacada, for people displaced by the forest fire.

People needing assistance or additional information can call 503-668-1719 or visit the Clackamas County website.

Health officials cautioned that anyone with respiratory issues should stay indoors, stay hydrated, stop using candles, gas, propane and wood burning stoves. Smokers should also limit the use of cigarettes due to the added smoke in the air from the fire.


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