Milepost 97 fire burning off I-5 near Canyonville grows to 11,000 acres

CANYONVILLE, OR (KPTV) – A wildfire burning along Interstate 5 in southern Oregon grew to about 11,000 acres Sunday morning.

The Milepost 97 fire started at about 10 p.m. Wednesday near Canyonville and is 5 percent contained.

The fire was initially reported to be a half acre in size and burning in old growth timber and brush on a steep and rocky hillside. 

Since Wednesday night, the fire had greatly expanded. By Saturday morning, it had grown to nearly 9,000 acres in size.

More than 900 firefighters are working around the clock to extinguish the fire. 

The Oregon Department of Forestry says strong winds have continued, causing the fire to remain active through most of Saturday night.

Crews worked to contain spot fires across I-5 near the Turkey Creek/Milepost 94 area and along I-5.

On Sunday, firefighters will focus on spot fires as well as constructing a line along the I-5 corridor and along the south and southeastern edges of the fire.

Crews are continuing to make progress along northern edge of fire, and they will continue to build and strengthen the line along the western edge.

Evacuations notices have been issued for residents near the fire. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office said that they are as follows: 

Level 2 "Get Set" evacuation notices for all residences on the west side of the freeway between Interstate mileposts 88-83. This includes: 

  • Barton Road
  • Azalea-Glen Road
  • Old Booth Lane
  • Harrel Lane
  • Hobbs Lane
  • Fortune Branch Road on the Azalea-Glen side
  • Forrest Road
  • Realty Road
  • Quines Creek Road
  • Mobley Drive

Additionally, all residences off of Upper Cow Creek Road starting at Interstate 5 milepost 88, east to the base of Galesville Dam are being elevated to a Level 2. 

Level 2 or "Get Set" means:

• This level indicates significant danger to your area and are encouraged to leave. If you decide to stay, be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice

  • This may be the only notice you receive if conditions worsen
  • Supply your "go kit" with all the essentials to last 2 weeks
  • Stay connected with emergency information and evacuation routes
  • Begin evacuating large animals. 

A Level 1 "Be Ready" notice is also being issued for all residents living on

  • Windy Creek Road at and above Woods Creek Road. 
  • Barton Road south to Glendale Junction Road. 

Level 1 or "Be Ready" means:

  • Be ready for the potential to evacuate
  • Have a "go kit" ready
  • Have an evacuation plan for your family and pets
  • Be "Firewise" and create a defensible space around your home

Drivers are advised to use caution in the area, as fire crews continued to work alongside the highway.

I-5 southbound around the fire area had been reduced to one lane for firefighter safety.

The Oregon Department of Transportation says southbound drivers should expect congestion and delays through the area due to heavy Sunday afternoon and evening traffic, as well as smoky conditions, especially at night.

Both off-ramps at Exit 95 (Canyon Creek) remain closed.

Investigators said initial findings indicated that the source of the Milepost 97 was related to an illegal campfire.

A community fire information meeting will be held at Glendale High School, located at 10598 Azalea-Glen Rd. in Glendale, on Sunday at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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