IDLEYLD PARK — Wildfires caused by lightning in the Umpqua National Forest displaced an unknown number of residents east of Glide on Saturday.
As of presstime Saturday night, a Level 3 evacuation was in effect for the community of Dry Creek including Illahee Flats and the Horseshoe Bend campground. Forest Service Road 4760 off Highway 138E was also reported to be evacuated.
A Level 3 or “GO!” is an order to evacuate immediately as danger to the area is current or imminent.
The evacuation notice included 15 to 20 homes, said Monique Dugaw, regional director of communications for the American Red Cross.
To help displaced residents, the Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at the Glide Seventh Day Adventist Church, 19085 North Umpqua Highway, Glide. As of 10:15 p.m., no families had arrived at the shelter.
Two fires were of primary concern near Glide on Saturday night — one a half acre in size and another about 20 acres. Both were reported to be less than a half mile away from structures, said Emily Veale, fire information officer for the Umpqua National Forest. No containment estimates were available.
“We are working closely with the Douglas Forest Protective Association on those fires,” Veale said. “With the help of our partners we are working to suppress those fires as well as keep those structures safe.”
Earlier Saturday evening, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies went campsite to campsite to warn people. Fire could be seen burning near Highway 138E near the Fall Creek Falls trailhead on Saturday evening.
Veale said the Level 3 order was issued for Horseshoe Bend to make room for firefighter traffic. It was a strategic evacuation for safety reasons, since firefighters will be working on multiple fires in the area.
“With the increase of fire behavior, the public safety was the highest priority,” Veale said. “We will keep that campground closed until further notice.”
Forest service road closures will be posted as they are made, but no river closures were in place as of Saturday night.
Earlier on Saturday evening, a Level 2 evacuation was still in place for four residences on Moore Hill Lane. Residents were told to be set and ready to go if needed.
“We are not concerned with the fire hitting the highway at this point,” Veale said, with Highway 138 remaining open for travel as of Saturday night.
Travelers are advised to contact the Oregon Department of Transportation’s TripCheck system at www.tripcheck.com for further updates.
To the south, 323 firefighters were on the scene of the 700-acre Falcon Complex, a combination of fires started by lightning near the Tiller area. As of Saturday night, fire crews estimated it to be 10 percent contained.
An informational meeting about the Falcon Complex is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at the Tiller Volunteer Fire Department.
The agenda will include weather, anticipated fire behavior, an update regarding the overall fire situation in the Umpqua National Forest and each individual fire within the Falcon Complex.