Beachie Creek Fire Inciweb

Beachie Creek Fire, photo from inciweb. 

MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Evacuation levels are being downgraded for areas of the Beachie Creek Fire, including Detroit, Idanha and Elkhorn.

Those areas will be lowered Friday morning from Level 3 (go now) to Level 2 (get set). That means people who were forced to evacuate can return to their homes, effective at 9 a.m. Friday. 

“Crews have been working tirelessly to restore access to evacuated areas. While residents will be able to return to these communities, many hazards remain and core services have not been restored to residences,” according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

To allow people access to the cities of Detroit and Idanha, the Oregon Department of Transportation will be using pilot cars to lead people through the closed sections of Highway 22E between Gates and Detroit. Crews are continuing to remove hazardous trees and debris along the highway.

There is no through access to the Santiam Pass from the Detroit and Idanha area at this time. Tree removal in the area between Gates and Detroit will cause delays for the inbound and outbound pilot car trips. Residents should expect at least one hour to make a one-way trip. Pilot cars guiding residents between Gates and Detroit will be limited to the following daily schedule:

  • 9 a.m. – Pilot car departs Gates to Detroit
  • 11 a.m. – Pilot car returns from Detroit to Gates
  • 1 p.m. – Pilot car departs Gates to Detroit
  • 5 p.m. – Pilot car returns from Detroit to Gates

Due to the remaining hazards in the cities of Detroit and Idanha and lack of basic services, deputies nonresidents refrain from traveling to the area. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office continues to coordinate with partner law enforcement agencies to maintain an enhanced presence in the Detroit and Idanha communities as residents return to their homes.

The North Fork Road corridor will be reduced to a Level 2 status up to the boundary with U.S. Forest Service property, near Milepost 15.5. Some roadways will remain closed to traffic by Marion County Public Works while trees are removed and damaged culverts and roadways can be repaired:

  • Gates Hill Road between North Fork Rd and Highway 22E
  • North Fork Rd east of Gates Hill Road

Numerous fire damaged trees remain near roadways and properties. These trees may fall at any time, according to deputies. Power has not yet been restored to the North Fork area. People there are urged to remain vigilant and be prepared encounter downed trees on the road.

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has additional safety advice for people returning to evacuation zones.

The evacuation levels for Marion County are as follow, starting at 9 a.m. Friday:

Level 3 – Go Now

  • Breitenbush
  • Crooked Finger Rd south of the cattle guard

Level 2 – Get Set

  • Detroit
  • Idanha
  • Highway 22E between mile post 33 to 56.2, west of Cooper’s Ridge Road

Level 1 – Be Ready

  • Mill City
  • Gates
  • Lyons
  • Mehama

The Marion County evacuation map can be found at this link.

The Beachie Creek Fire has burned 192,838 acres and was 49% contained Thursday.

Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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