A close to 17,000-acre wildfire near Dufur has forced level 3 evacuation orders along the Deschutes River from Sherars Falls to Mack’s Canyon.
The Long Hollow Fire is spreading through dry brush at an estimated 100 to 300 feet per minute, and has more than doubled in size since firefighters first responded Thursday, officials say.
The blaze burning southeast of The Dalles jumped from an estimated 6,300 acres Thursday night to an estimated 16,938 Friday afternoon.
Friday evening, flames jumped across the Deschutes River to the east bank, causing firefighters to place everyone south of Rutledge Road under a Level 1 evacuation order. Residents in Boyd are also under a Level 1 evacuation notice.
A level 1 evacuation notice means residents should be ready for a potential evacuation. A Level 3 evacuation notice means residents should leave immediately.
Winds blowing through the area are making firefighters' job more difficult. High temperatures expected this weekend are also a cause for concern.
At least one farmer in the area says he has lost hundreds of acres in the fire.
Stan Askbrook says he stayed up through the night Thursday working with a tractor and a disk to create fire breaks around his and his neighbor’s property. He says the effects of the fire have been devastating for him and other farmers.
"I think we're all whipped," Askbrook said. “I haven’t even started harvest yet because I’m scared to get out there. It’s so hot and it’s dry … we work a lifetime to build up a farm that we think is good and then it gets wiped out.”
The blaze has destroyed several structures since it was reported around 4:30 p.m Thursday on Long Hollow Road. Officials say it was likely caused by a combine that burst into flames.
On Thursday, firefighters with the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Wasco County and other local associations used two single-engine air tankers, three heavy air tankers, two helicopters and five engines, along with other resources, to fight the fire.
The 216 Road from Buck Hollow River Access to the Macks Campground is closed. The area is also under Industrial Fire Protection Level 3 meaning 'Go Now'.
A second blaze broke out Friday off Highway 197 just north of Dufur, which firefighters are also working to control.
The Wasco County Sheriff's Office says residents who have questions can call officials at 541-316-7711.
Dufur is about 14 miles southeast of The Dalles, where fire officials say a close to 80,000-acre wildfire is nearly contained.
The Substation Fire destroyed four homes and at least 48 outbuildings, fire authorities said. A 64-year-old farmer died trying to protect his neighbor's land from the flames.
Editor's note: Fire officials Friday said the Long Hollow Fire had grown to an estimated 34,000 acres. Due to a computer error in mapping, they have since revised that number to 16,938.
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