(Update: New fire, the Yellow Jacket Fire, reported south of Beatty)
BEATTY, Ore. (KTVZ) – A wind-driven wildfire that broke out Sunday 20 miles north of the Klamath County town of Beatty, prompting a Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation order for residents of Sycan Forest Estates, has grown to 650 acres but is mostly lined, officials said Monday.
It was the second Southern Oregon fire to prompt evacuation alerts this Memorial Day weekend.
Meanwhile, a new fire, the Yellow Jacket Fire, was reported Monday afternoon and had burned 15 to 20 acres on state Department of Forestry-protected land about four miles south of Beatty.
The fire was burning in juniper mixed with Ponderosa pine. Several structures were threatened, but there were no evacuation orders in place. The cause was under investigation
Here's Monday morning's update on the Sycan River Fire, from the Fremont-Winema National Forest:
The Sycan River Fire continues to burn on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Klamath County approximately 20 miles north of Beatty.
The fire is estimated to be approximately 650 acres, with no containment. Approximately 5 acres of private wildlands are in the fire area. The fire was reported Sunday afternoon around 2:30. The cause is under investigation.
Firefighters made progress great progress on the fire overnight, with an estimated 80 percent of the fire lined, and successful burnout operations took place. Firefighters are focusing on the southern side of the fire Monday to strengthen protection for nearby private lands.
Resources on the fire include engines, fire crews, dozers, water tenders and aerial resources from federal and state agencies and contractors. The South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) Type 3 Team took over management of the Sycan River Fire Monday morning.
Forest Road 27 is closed from the intersection with Forest Road 30 north to the intersection with Forest Road 46. This closure is for firefighter and public safety. This is the only road closure associated with the fire. However, drivers should be prepared for increased fire traffic in the area and aware of their surroundings. This includes large equipment on narrow Forest roads and traffic on area highways.
A Level 2 (get set) evacuation order remains in place for the Sycan Forest Estates, as declared by the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office. This means residents need to be prepared to leave immediately if needed.
The American Red Cross and the Klamath County Community Emergency Response Team stand ready to set up a temporary evacuation point in the Bly area, should an increase in the evacuation level be issued from Incident Command.
The weather forecast for Monday and into this week is for summer-like temperatures, with hot and dry conditions. The spring has been unseasonably warm and dry which, when mixed with winds, can carry fire quickly. The public is asked to use extreme caution with anything that can spark a wildfire. This includes campfires are dead-out and cold to the touch before leaving.
A Level 1 (Be Ready) evacuation notice was issued initially, later upgraded to a Level 2. Under a Level 2 evacuation notice, residents are advised of a significant wildfire risk and to be ready to move at a moment’s notice.
The Sycan River Fire is burning approximately 10 miles northeast of the area burned by the Ponina Fire last month.
Meanwhile, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office at noon on Sunday lowered from Level 2 to Level 1 (Be Ready) the evacuation alert on the East Antelope Road Fire near White City, which also prompted roadblocks. The Oregon Department of Forestry reported it burned nearly 50 acres before it was fully lined, and mop-up was underway.