Wildfires near Oakridge spread; homes on evacuation alert

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- Lightning-caused wildfires sparked on August 10 spread during the hot, windy afternoon Wednesday near Oakridge, causing officials to put about 100 homes on evacuation alert Thursday.

Watch KGW report here

The fires, together named Deception Complex, became "very active" Wednesday afternoon and began growing outside their previous boundaries, according to Jude McHugh, spokesman for the Willamette National Forest.

Nearly 100 structures have been placed on Level 2 Evacuation Alert, which means residents should be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

The evacuation area includes residents along LaDuke/Harbour Roads and the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park in Westfir.

"The fire has been holding a great deal of heat for many, many days," said Jude McHugh with the Willamette National Forest. "We had the right combination of low humidity, high temperatures and winds on the fire that caused it to become more active."

The Register-Guard reports that officials briefly evacuated a mobile home park and about 60 homes Wednesday night after the fire grew.

The fire sent huge volumes of smoke into the Eugene-Springfield area and Central Oregon. In Oakridge itself, local regulators said the air quality Thursday was down to unhealthy levels.

Employees at the Middle Fork Ranger District office have were told to leave the station, McHugh said.

A public meeting was held in Oakridge. For the latest Twitter updates from the Willamette National Forest, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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