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Fire crews fight multiple fires on the Middle Fork Ranger District

A total of 22 wildfires ranging from less than 10 acres in size to more than 300 acres have sparked in the Willamette National Forest near Oakridge.

Posted: Jul 31, 2021 12:03 PM
Updated: Jul 31, 2021 5:03 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- A total of 22 wildfires ranging from less than 10 acres in size to more than 300 acres were sparked by lightning in the Willamette National Forest near Oakridge. Officials are calling the incidents the Middle Fork Complex Fire.

The incidents are in the Fall Creek, Hills Creek Reservoir, and north of Huckleberry areas, officials said. Two incidents are close to private lands and are priorities for the forest.

A Type 2 team arrived Friday to manage the fire complex, and resources included two Type 2 helicopters and one on order. Continued resources are being ordered for the fires.

Officials say a containment percentage is not available at this time, and more information will be available as the Type 2 team gets in place Saturday and Sunday.

Smoke jumpers and Hot Shot crews are also supporting the suppression efforts, officials said.

The Willamette National Forest reported as of 10:45 pm Friday night there is no evacuation order for Road 18, but officials are asking the public not to recreate in that area due to fire suppression efforts and timber and logging crews frequenting that road. 

However, the Lane County Government's website which was last updated at 3:00 pm Friday afternoon reports, "All homes, campgrounds and dispersed recreation along Forest Service Road 18 (Big Fall Creek Road) east of the intersection with Forest Service Road 1821, including Puma Campground and Bedrock Campground, are at LEVEL 3 (GO NOW)."

Additionally, there is lack of cell service in the area. Use of unauthorized unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, in a fire area endangers the lives of pilots and firefighters. Never fly unmanned aircraft over or near a fire.

Wildfires can produce high quantities of smoke. During wildfire activity, firefighters can do little to reduce smoke impacts. Affected communities should remain aware of smoke advisories and conditions, officials said.

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