(Update: Fire size updated, lines hold through night; downed trees in several parks)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – High winds eased and lines held overnight and Monday morning on the Bull Springs Fire northwest of Bend, which officials now say burned 211 acres and destroyed two outbuildings. All evacuation levels were dropped from Level 3 (GO NOW) to Level 1, meaning “Be Ready,” in case they need to leave.
A windstorm hit the High Desert with gusts topping 50 mph Sunday afternoon, toppling many trees and spreading two wildfires that threatened homes, prompted evacuations and closed roads in Deschutes River Woods and north of Shevlin Park, near Tumalo.
Like many homeowners and owners of wooded lots, Bend Park and Rec District crews were out surveying parks and assessing downed trees or other damage Tuesday.
Park district spokeswoman Julie Brown said trees were down at Drake, Shevlin, Ponderosa and Pine Ridge parks, as well as on the Haul Road Trail corridor and the Simpson Lot's natural area.
Crews "are looking for ‘hangers’ that are hung up in other trees and could fall," she said. "We are focusing on getting trees safely down on the ground and then can clean up later."
Two structural protection task forces were called in to help battle the blazes and mutual aid came from several nearby fire departments.
Incident Commander Bill Boos of Bend Fire said the fire was nearly lined by nightfall, and crews completed that task Sunday night.
Some evacuation orders were reduced or lifted earlier. Battalion Chief Trish Connolly said the cause of the fire was under investigation.
The fire burned on private, U.S. Forest Service and BLM-managed lands, officials said. Bend Fire was in unified command with the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry, and numerous resources responded.
The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reported about 5:20 p.m. they had issued Level 3 (GO NOW) evacuations west of Johnson Road, from Bull Springs Road to Kuhlman Road. Homes on the east side of Johnson Road were put on Level 1 (GET READY) notice, meaning residents needed o be ready for potential evacuations, as officials urged others to avoid the area.
Traffic was diverted and Tyler Road was shut down. Johnson Road also was closed from Shevlin Park Road to OB Riley Road.
In a later update, evacuation orders were lifted for homes on Johnson, East Saddleback and Tumalo Reservoir roads. But Level 3 evacuations had remained in place for homes along Tyler and Kuhlman roads. The evacuation notice also was reduced to Level 1 on West Saddleback Road.
A 9:20 p.m. update said only homes along Kuhlman Road remained under Level 3 evacuation; all other areas were reduced to Level 1.
An interactive map of the evacuation areas is at: https://deschutes.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=f9de45337eb043fca432548f91d03ad6 and a description of the evacuation levels is at https://www.deschutes.org/sheriff/page/emergency-information
Due to the wildfires, Red Cross Cascades Region volunteers set up a temporary evacuation site at High Desert Middle School, 61111 SE 27th Street. "Anyone who needs assistance can just show up," the agency said.
Central Oregon Emergency Info tweeted that Bend Pet Resort will accept any pets(cats & dogs) whose owners are displaced due to the emergency evacuation from the Bull Springs Fire in the Tumalo area Fire at no charge for the night. Please call 541-280-2863
By early Sunday evening, the National Weather Service had reports of winds gusting to 56 mph in Sisters, 55 at Lava Butte, 53 mph at Sunriver, 52 mph in Sisters, 50 mph in Bend and 48 mph in Redmond.
The winds toppled trees, some onto homes or power lines throughout the region, including at least five power poles that came down along Johnson Road. Pacific Power reported more than 7,000 Bend-area customers were without service early Sunday evening -- and about 2,000 remained without power at mid-morning Monday as repairs continued; check updates on their online map.
A Saturday burn pile in Deschutes River Woods south of Bend rekindled and spread fast Sunday afternoon amid winds gusting past 40 mph, threatening homes, prompting evacuations and burning debris, vehicles and outbuildings before it was stopped, officials said.
Crews were dispatched around 3:40 p.m. to the reported brush fire in the 60000 block of Cinder Butte Road, Bend Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Trish Connolly said.
Homes on both Cinder Butte and Apache roads were threatened, as the fire raced across the yards of about four lots, Connolly said.
Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies issued a Level 3 (GO NOW) evacuation alert and evacuated homes on both streets.
Mutual-aid crews were called in from Alfalfa, Cloverdale and Sunriver, and had forward progress of the fire stopped by about 4:30 p.m. The fire burned about an acre and no homes were involved, Connolly said.
An extensive overhaul followed. Connolly said the evacuated residents weren't allowed to return home until the smoke is cleared and more overhaul work is finished.
Apache Road resident Dallas Newboles says the fire broke out right behind his home -- and before he knew it, the fire marshal was at his door, telling him he needed to evacuate. So Newboles grabbed everything he could before he left.
"I do want to say thank you to law enforcement and fire people for responding so quickly," he said, "because, you know -- it's peoples houses, and they're protecting peoples property, so that's good."
Central Oregon fire crews were called out on several escaped field and yard debris burns over the weekend, amid windy conditions.
The winds also caused other issues, including blowing dust and near-zero visibility south of Madras, possibly contributing to crashes along Highway 97.