Highway 138 East is expected to remain closed between Glide and the Highway 97 junction for at least another week due to hazardous conditions caused by the Archie Creek Fire, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
As of Friday, the fire had burned more than 115,000 acres in the area. Another fire is also burning near Diamond Lake.
The fire, burning in the North Umpqua drainage as well as east of Sutherlin, remains at 0% containment. It began early Tuesday morning east of Glide and was estimated to have burned 72,000 acres in its first 12 hours.
Some Glide and Sutherlin residents are being allowed back into their homes after evacuation levels were reduced Friday afternoon, according to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
The area in Glide between Green Bridge west to Little River Road has been reduced to a Level 2 “Be Set.”
“(This) means the danger is mitigating somewhat,” said Brad O’Dell, a sheriff’s spokesman during a Facebook Live. “You need to continue to be vigilant about what is occurring in your area.”
Residents on Lone Rock Road, Bar L Ranch Road, Upper Terrace Lane, Terrace Drive and Little River Road remain in a Level 3 “Go.”
In Sutherlin, residents from Banks Creek Road to Gassy Creek Road were reduced to a Level 2 “Be Ready” notice, but residents from Gassy Creek Road to the end of Nonpareil Road remains in a Level 3 “Go.”
The sheriff’s office mistakenly announced that the evacuation notice had been reduced on Nonpareil Road but quickly corrected the information on a following Facebook Live.
The Idleyld Park area also remains in a Level 3 “Go” evacuation level.
Level 2 “Be Set” means residents must be prepared to leave in a moment’s notice because there is still significant danger in the area.
While Glide and Sutherlin residents were allowed into their homes, access on Highway 138 East past the Green Bridge will be prohibited for at least a week longer — thanks in part to trees, rocks and debris have fallen into the roadway in several locations, leaving some areas inaccessible. Several sections of guardrail have been destroyed by the fire. Signs and utility poles have also been destroyed and more than 100 trees are in danger of collapsing onto the roadway, according to ODOT.
The fire has weakened slopes, posing a risk of landslides throughout the coming fall and winter and bridges will need to be inspected for damage.
Officials said travelers should expect frequent lane closures throughout the fall after the fire is contained while the road and the area are fully inspected.
In other developments:
- The Douglas Forest Protective Association announced Friday evening that mop-up operations had been completed on the French Creek Fire and that the land is now on patrol status. The French Creek Fire ignited late Monday evening just north of Glide and burned a total of 495 acres. That number is higher than the initial 430 acres due to more accurate mapping.
- Douglas County Commissioners and Douglas Public Health Network have added a resource and referral service to the current COVID-19 hotline for Douglas County residents. Its goal is to help residents get connected to referral and resource information about local emergency shelters, livestock and animal boarding options, donation locations, volunteer opportunities, welfare check referrals, food and water resources and help with health and wellness questions. This is NOT the hotline for Fire Updates or Evacuation information.
- Locally, the Greater Douglas United Way is working with the Salvation Army and American Red Cross to accept both monetary and physical donations. Greater Douglas United Way has set up a Fire Relief Fund. Monetary donations can be left at 702 SE Jackson St. All donations will be donated directly to local Red Cross and Salvation Army wildfire efforts. Bottled water, sealed food items, clothing and other necessities can be dropped off at either the Greater Douglas United Way office or to the Salvation Army at 3130 NE Stephens St. For additional questions, call the Salvation Army at (541) 672-6581 or the Greater Douglas United Way at (541) 672-1734.
- The Umpqua National Forest has issued temporary closure orders for the Cottage Grove and Tiller Ranger Districts in addition to the earlier closures of the North Umpqua and Diamond Lake Districts. This now closes the entire Umpqua National Forest until the extreme fire danger is over. These orders restrict access to all but emergency personnel and persons that have a permit specifically authorizing their presence in the closure areas. fires.
- The Roseburg District of the Bureau of Land Management has closed public lands east of Interstate 5, within the Swiftwater Field Office, until the Archie Creek fire is declared controlled. The lands are located in Douglas and Lane County. This closure is necessary to protect public land users from risks associated with the wildfire. The closure is also needed to protect firefighters from recreational activities that could interfere with fire suppression. The public must not enter the closure area. All uses within the closure area are prohibited. This closure will remain in effect until such time as conditions allow for safe use of the public lands.