The Poole Creek Fire grew to an estimated 500-700 acres Tuesday, the largest fire of the Skyline Ridge Complex of fires burning in southern Douglas County.

The 24 fires in the complex range from less than an acre to more than 600 acres, according to a report from the Oregon Department of Forestry Tuesday evening.

“Today is going to be a fire day,” Fire Behavior Analyst Brian Reel said in a release Wednesday morning. “Fuels are critically dry and we have unstable weather conditions. Crews should expect active fire behavior all day, including spotting (embers aloft) up to one-quarter of a mile.”

Reel is working with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Incident Management Team 1.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the county into Wednesday evening.

“Our game plan today is to gang up and knock out as many of the small fires as we can so we can start formulating a plan to get around the Poole Creek Fire,” Douglas Forest Protective Association spokesperson Kyle Reed said. “Once we can get those smaller fires contained, we can start moving resources around.”

Resources are the biggest hindrance to the suppression of the Skyline Ridge Complex.

“We can put out our wish list of what we need for resources, but you’re probably not going to get what you wish for with as many fires that are burning,” Reed said.

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday night issued a Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation notice for all residents living between the addresses of 11300 and 18299 on Upper Cow Creek Road as a result of the cluster of fires, including all side roads from just above Galesville Dam east to Red Apple Road. All residents in the 20000 block area of Upper Cow Creek are on a Level 3 “Go!” evacuation order, while residents at addresses between 18300 and 20000 on Upper Cow Creek remain on a Level 2 “Be Set” notice.

Those evacuations are due to the Wildcat Fire burning near the confluence of Cow Creek and East Fork Cow Creek. The Wildcat Fire is part of a second complex which has been named the Devil’s Knob Complex, which is burning primarily on the Tiller Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest. An incident command team has been requested to handle operations on those blazes as well.

A map of evacuation orders for the Skyline Ridge Complex can be found at www.dcso.com/evacuations.

In addition to the Skyline Ridge Complex, the Douglas Forest Protective Association was notified of two new fires Tuesday. A new holdover fire from Sunday’s lightning storm was spotted in the Cavitt Creek area southeast of Glide in the Evart’s Creek area but was contained at 1/4 acre. There was also a natural cover fire near Grant Smith Road in Green which was controlled by crews from Douglas County Fire District No. 2 and the Winston Fire Department.

Donovan Brink can be reached at dbrink@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4219.

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Cops and Courts Reporter

Donovan Brink is the cops and courts reporter for The News-Review.

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