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Oakridge prepares for possible evacuations

Lane County Sheriff's office issued a level one evacuation notice for parts of Oakridge being threatened by the Kwis fire, one of many fires in the Middle Fork complex.

Posted: Aug 9, 2021 8:33 PM
Updated: Aug 9, 2021 8:50 PM

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- The Lane County Sheriff's Office issued a Level 1 evacuation notice for parts of Oakridge being threatened by the Kwis fire, one of many fires in the Middle Fork Complex.

The closest part of the fire is just two miles to the northeast of Oakridge.

The Level 1 evacuation notices are in place for:

  • High Prairie Road
  • Fish Hatchery Road
  • Oakridge north of Roberts Road
  • Oakridge east of Salmon Creek

If you're in one of these areas where you could have to leave, make sure you have your valuables -- including important documents such as passports, birth certificates, insurance information, medications, medical equipment and animal vaccination records.

The Middle Fork Complex is made up of 12 fires burning off of Highway 58 near Oakridge.

The complex is currently 5,003 acres and is 10 percent contained.

Lauren Durocher, a spokesperson for the Middle Fork Complex, told KEZI that right now, crews are working hard to prepare fire control lines on the Kwis, Ninemile, Gales and Elephant Rocks fires.

Overall, she said ground firefighters, heavy equipment, and aircraft are making good progress on containing the fires in the complex.

"Right now, for all of our fires, we are working on a full suppression containment strategy for everything we have," Durocher said. "With the resources we have, we are working on prioritizing. We are sifting our recourses to focus on those fires where the community is at risk."

Durocher said that the challenges they are facing right now involve the upcoming forecast— it's only going to get hotter and dryer throughout the week.

With this smoke, she encourages everyone to stay indoors, close all windows and get air purifiers running.

KEZI spoke to Oakridge residents, and some said they are scared. Others said they aren't trying to worry too much.

"My faith keeps me strong," said resident Sherry Klosterman. "I believe that the Holy Spirit has everything in control -- if it's His will that Oakridge burns up, we've been in the same situation at least a dozen other times."

KEZI spoke to another woman who was leaving her house to haul her horses to safety.

Fire officials are pleading with the public to take these fires seriously and be prepared to leave if necessary.

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