Liberty Fire now at 100 acres south of Salem; evacuation levels lowered

Level 3 “Go Now” evacuations have been issued for the ‘Liberty Fire’ burning south of Salem Wednesday, according to the Marion Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Published: Aug. 23, 2023 at 4:07 PM PDT|Updated: Aug. 23, 2023 at 7:58 PM PDT
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SALEM Ore. (KPTV) - Evacuations have been lowered for the ‘Liberty Fire’ burning south of Salem Wednesday, according to the Marion Co. Sheriff’s Office.

According to Salem fire, officials received a call around 2:45 p.m. reporting a grass fire in the Jory Hill area. Two buildings have been reported damaged and no injuries are known.

On Wednesday afternoon, officials said 630 homes were in the evacuation zone.

At about 6 p.m. Wednesday, the Oregon Fire Marshal estimated the fire had grown to 100 acres, and announced that firefighting aircraft had been sent to help tackle the blaze. Three planes provide air support with seven agencies accumulating to 70 units on scene.

Level 3 “Go Now” orders were issued for people living between Cole Road, Jory Hill, Bates and Davis Road, including Skyline from Davis to Moore. Those evacuation levels were lowered by 10:30 p.m. The current evacuation levels are:

  • Level 2 “Be Set” evacuation is now in place for Liberty Rd S and Jory Hill Rd S west to Skyline Rd S
  • Level 1 “ Be Ready” evacuation is now in place for Liberty Rd S / Bates Rd S to Cole Rd S and includes Old Liberty Rd S.

Crews have contained the fire and will continue to monitor the fire overnight and urge residents to stay informed.

Thursdays weather shows an increase in wind, high temperature and low humidity. South Salem residents should be ready to leave if conditions worsen and have a plan to relocate to a safe place.

For latest evacuation updates, check this county fire map.

Evacuees with nowhere to go are asked to go to Jutson Middle School where Red Cross is on site.

FOX 12 met Andy Frank and his family in the parking lot of Crossler Middle School following the level 3 evacuations.

“Yesterday there was a bunch of field burns,” Andy Frank said. “Today we saw the fire and thought it was another field burn, no big deal, but it was a little closer. Then we heard all the sirens and realized oh that’s not a field burn. We could see the fire. It wasn’t like we were in any immediate danger, so we waited until the deputies showed up and said we had to go.”

Frank said this isn’t the first time their home has been in the evacuation zone in recent years, but thankfully they have a place to go tonight if the evacuations aren’t lifted.

“Three times in three years we’ve had fires that are close enough that it only feels like a matter of time,” said Frank. “We live up a dead end. It’s about a mile to get up to our house and there’s only one way out. I recently rebuilt the fence between our property and the neighbor’s property and I put in a section that swings open so we can get out another way. That’s why I wasn’t worried today because I knew we could get out the back way. A woman drove up, I don’t remember her name, but we got her information, she saw us standing here and said ‘I’m a property manager. I’ve got a couple of places that are vacant in West Salem, they’re really nice apartments. You can have one for the night’. So that’s an option.”

This is a developing story and more information will be added as available.