8:36 p.m. UPDATE: Dry Creek is now at Level 3 evacuation, including Illahee Flats. A Red Cross evacuation shelter will be open for displaced residents at the Glide Seventh Day Adventist Church, 19085 North Umpqua Highway, Glide.
6:06 p.m. UPDATE: Deputies have gone campsite to campsite, telling people about the Level 3 evacuation. Reports have the fire within a half mile of Highway 138E around milepost 46.
SATURDAY 5:10 P.M. UPDATE: Horseshoe Bend campground has been upgraded to a Level 3 "Go" evacuation notice. The Dry Creek community has been elevated to Level 2. There is no change to the current level 2 notice for Moore Hill Lane.
IDLEYLD PARK — Due to wildfires in the area, the Umpqua National Forest notified the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office of a Level 2 evacuation notice for residents of Moore Hill Lane, while evacuation Level 1 remains for the community of Dry Creek and the Steamboat Inn along Highway 138 East. During Level 2, residents on Moore Hill Lane are urged to prepare to leave at a moment’s notice because of significant fire danger.
Residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family or friends outside the affected area, or if they choose to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.
The fire mostly burned underbrush as of Friday evening, creating big plumes of smoke across the river from Highway 138. Every once in a while, a tree would catch flame.
The fire had started on the south side of a ridge, but by Friday afternoon it was making its way down the northern side toward the North Umpqua River.
Sid Greer, Diamond Lake resident deputy for the Forest Service, estimated the fire was about 25 acres in size by around 6:30 p.m.
“Once it comes down here,” he said, pointing toward where the smokey hill meets the river, “It could cross this and it’s going to go up fast.” He said he predicted the fire would reach the river by sundown, though he wasn’t sure if the fire would make the jump across to the other side, where homes sit tucked into the hills north of Highway 138.
“Our main concerns are people and houses,” he said.
Fire managers waited with vehicles at a turnout off Highway 138 in case the fire jumped.
Sheriff’s Office Deputy Rick Held said the U.S. Forest Service’s resources were spread thin with the many fires in the Umpqua National Forest, so there were a few firetrucks positioned on Moore Hill Lane but no one was currently fighting the fire as it made its way down to the river.
“It’s so steep they can’t put a foot crew in and they don’t have a helicopter available,” Held said. “This fire seems kind of weird because it’s close to houses and a road but it’s not being actively fought.”
Cheryl Caplan of the Umpqua National Forest said the U.S. Forest Service is planning to close a couple campgrounds, trails and roads that lead into the area north and south of Highway 138 to keep public traffic to a minimum so fire managers can fight fires safely.
Highway 138 remains open to public traffic as of presstime.
Earlier, the Oregon Department of Transportation issued a press release stating that the highway was closed, then followed with a correction stating the road is open, but the public should use caution while traveling in the area due to limited visibility. According to a press release, the department said signs were being placed along the highway in case the fire deems a closure necessary.
Jeanne and Frank Moore, who have lived in Idleyld Park for 40 years, can see the smoke from the fire across the river from their home.
“It’s a way bigger column of smoke now than it was earlier, so it’s spread a lot today,” Jeanne Moore said.
She said the fire was started by a thunderstorm that broke over the area Thursday night, bringing with it lightning and a few rain showers.
The strike must have smoldered, she said, growing into a full-fledged fire by Friday.
“Yesterday the wind was coming from the north east and it was perfect,” she said. “It wasn’t spreading, it was just sitting there, but that’s not the case today.
“If we just had a helicopter, we would be out of the woods,” she added.
The Moores haven’t been told by authorities to evacuate, but they are taking precautions nevertheless.
“We’re watering now, we’ve got big fire hoses, a pump leading out of our pond, and we’re keeping everything as wet as we can in case a spark comes along,” she said.
According to unofficial scanner reports, the wildfire is spreading but is mostly sending smoke into the air. Active flames are approximately 300 yards from the residents on Moore Hill Lane, but remain across the river.
“The smoke hasn’t been too bad,” Jeanne Moore said. “We aren’t just choking to death or anything like that.
“It’s more eventful than I care for because I’m in my 90s,” she said, laughing.
Cassidy Davis, who owns 30 acres of land in the mountains near Myrtle Creek, told The News-Review that anyone with livestock should get them out of the area if an evacuation occurs. She offered to let them use 20 acres of her land for temporary emergency board until the fire is out.
For residents in the area, there are three levels of evacuation:
The three levels of evacuation are Level 1, 2 and 3 for “Ready,” “Set” and “GO!”
Level 1 encourages residents to be prepared. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area and monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information.
Level 2 asks residents to be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice because of significant danger to the area. During Level 2, residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family or friends outside the affected area, or if they choose to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk.
LEVEL 3 notifies residents to leave immediately due to current or imminent danger to the area. If they choose to ignore this advisement, emergency services may not be available to assist them.
Residents may sign up to receive emergency alerts about emergencies near their homes, workplaces or other locations by registering at http://www.dcso.com/dccens/dccens_main.asp.
To reach the Umpqua National Forest’s information line for fires within national forest boundaries, call 541-670-5289.