Family shares terrifying escape of Miller Road Fire

Published: Aug. 4, 2022 at 6:59 PM PDT
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WASCO COUNTY Ore. (KPTV) - Oregon’s largest wildfire in the state right now is being battled by firefighters from across the state and has sent dozens of families fleeing their homes.

The Miller Road Fire burning near Maupin in Wasco County is 10,500 acres, and zero percent contained as of Thursday.

It has been a statewide effort to fight the Miller Road Fire over the last couple of days, with more than 300 firefighters helping after Gov. Kate Brown declared an emergency over the Miller Road Fire on Tuesday.

Gretchen McCoy and her family live off Reservation Road south of Highway 216, one of the areas hit hard by the fire. The fire got within 300 yards of McCoy’s home very quickly on Tuesday afternoon after hot and dry conditions caused the fire to spread with extraordinary speed across the dry high desert landscape.

All of the sudden, the abandoned house down here lit up,” McCoy said. “The smoke just went straight across Reservation Road. So then I thought, ‘it’s about time we get out of here.’”

McCoy loaded her children into the car, gathered family pictures and important documents, and took off.

Her daughter’s boyfriend, who was following in his own car, had to turn around at one point because flames had crossed their path.

“His tires were hitting fire, and we backed up and came back,” McCoy said. “My concern was getting stuck on the back road, because I didn’t know if the fire had encroached onto our properties.”

Firefighters were able to stop the flames from reaching McCoy’s house with fire retardant drops. Some of McCoy’s neighbors also had their property protected thanks to efforts from firefighters. One home in the area, however, did burn down, but no injuries were reported in that home by fire officials.

McCoy said this was one of the largest fires she has seen in her nearly 20 years living in the Maupin area, and she was fighting to stay calm for her children.

“It was scary, because I didn’t want to traumatize them and I had to stay cool enough that they weren’t going to be scared, and just make sure we got out,” she said.

Her son, Storm, said he was shaken at seeing part of the community he grew up in go up in flames.

“It was weird for sure,” Storm said “Scary, and was weird to see everything that was once there not there anymore.”

Firefighters are expecting containment to increase in the next day given calmer fire conditions and the progress of firefighters on Thursday.