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SE Redmond wildfire update: Evacuation area, levels reduced, Redmond Airport, Hwy. 126 reopen

Redmond fire evacuation zones 1130p 629
Deschutes County
Reduced fire evacuation zones of Level 3 (Go Now) and Level 1 (Be Ready) late Tuesday night
Redmond fire ODOT 629
ODOT
Air tanker drops retardant on fast-growing wildfire in SE Redmond
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Viewer photo
Smoke billowed from brushfire in SE Redmond Tuesday afternoon
Redmond wildfire Ninth Street Reid Kennedy 629-1
Reid Kennedy
Wildfire burns off Ninth Street in Redmond Tuesday
Redmond fire retardant Benjamin Knechel 629
Benjamin Knechel
Air tanker drop retardant on fire in SE Redmond
Redmond Ninth Street Fire 1213 pm 629
Roger Hamreus
Early photo of the Antler Fire off SE Ninth Street in Redmond
Incident 422 aerial Redmond Air Center COFMS
C.O. Fire Management Service
Incident 422 broke out north of the Redmond Air Center

(Update: More on La Pine-area fire)

REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A fast-spreading wildfire broke out early Tuesday afternoon in southeast Redmond and may have sparked a second, larger fire, both putting up thick smoke, closing Highway 126 and prompting wide evacuations and call-up of several task forces, as well as closure of the Redmond Airport for several hours, officials said.

The first fire, called the Antler Fire, was reported shortly after noon in the area of Southeast Ninth Street and Highway 126, as temperatures in the region again soared toward 100 degrees and new fires broke out in numerous places.

The first southeast Redmond fire, Incident 419, was estimated at 20 acres less than an hour after reported, with a task force of engine crews from the Forest Service, BLM and Oregon Department of Forestry supporting Redmond Fire, Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Kassidy Kern said.

There soon were two fires, one, the Antler Fire by Ninth Street and Evergreen Avenue and a new fire, Incident 422, north of the Redmond Air Center, where Forest Service firefighters work and tankers load fuel and retardant.

Erratic winds were whipping up Incident 422, just north of the Redmond Air Center, and a heavy air tanker was ordered to drop retardant and assist crews in stopping the fire at Highway 126. Water-dropping helicopters were working to cool hot spots. Originally estimated at 200 acres, officials Tuesday evening reduced the fire's estimated size to 50-100 acres.

Shortly 3 p.m. came this word: "Due to adjacent fire activity, the Redmond Municipal Airport is CLOSED until further notice. Have flight questions, please contact your air carrier directly." Flights were diverted to other airports. City Manager Keith Witcosky told councilors Tuesday evening the airport had reopened.

At mid-afternoon, the evacuation area had expanded south of Highway 126 to include the area east of SE Lake Rd to Veterans Way to SE Sisters Ave. to Highway 126.

Redmond Mayor George Endicott said, "The wind is blowing, which is obviously one of the worst things you can have added to this head of 110 (degrees). Makes for a terrible situation."

Two residents of the area were preparing, in case they had to leave.

Eric Gibb said, "We've got the sprinklers going. We're trying to be as defensible as we can, but they say we've got to get out of here, so we're trying to pack up and be ready."

Jed Grieninger said, "I'm going to stay as long as I can, but if it gets too close -- I'm no fireman, so I'll kick rocks when I have to. But I'm hoping that the men and women that are fighting it are getting it taken care of."

Due to the nearby fire "and out of an abundance of caution," COCC announced late Tuesday afternoon it was evacuating and closing its Redmond campus, until further notice.

Into the evening, Highway 126 eastbound access was closed at Highway 97 and Northeast Ninth Street was closed from Highway 126 to Hemlock Avenue.

One lane of Highway 126 reopened by 6 p.m., with ODOT flagging traffic in alternating directions, and other area streets reopened. Highway 126 fully reopened shortly before nightfall.

An interactive Deschutes County map of the evacuation zones is at:

https://deschutes.maps.arcgis.com/apps/PublicInformation/index.html?appid=f9de45337eb043fca432548f91d03ad6

Late Tuesday night, the fire evacuation map was updated to reflect Level 3 (Go) only in the immediate fire area, with other areas to the west and north reduced to Level 1 (Be Ready). The area north of NE Hemlock Avenue was no longer in the evacuation zone.

Around 1:30 p.m., the city of Redmond posted on Facebook:

"EVACUATION NOTICE:

The following areas are being asked to evacuate:

Hwy 97-E Antler Ave-SE 9th St-Hwy 126-Hwy 97

EVACUATION ADVISORY:

The following areas are under an evacuation advisory:

NW of E. Antler Ave. to NE 9th St.

STREET CLOSURES:

The following streets have been closed:

E. Antler Ave. - E. Hwy 97
All streets north of Hwy 126 from Hwy 97 to NE 9th St.
All streets south of Antler Ave. from Hwy 97 east past NE 17th St.

Crews are on scene and working to contain the blaze. Cause of fire has not yet been determined."

At mid-afternoon, the fire evacuation area expanded north to Hemlock Avenue. The initial fire was contained, city officials said, but the second, larger fire was spreading north from Highway 126.

The Pet Evacuation Team said it was called by BrightSide Animal Center to help evacuate the shelter. Volunteers showed up with crates and successfully emptied the shelter. 

Winds caused big issues with spot fires on another day of over-100-degree weather.

ODOT reported at mid-afternoon that Highway 126 was closed at milepost 2, and earlier said SE Evergreen Avenue and Ninth Street were closed off Highway 126 and urged alternate routes. Follow traffic updates at our TripCheck page.

Red Cross volunteers were assisting Deschutes County officials at a temporary evacuation point at the county fairgrounds. Those affected by the fire could go there for assistance.

Numerous other brush fires were breaking out around the region in Tuesday's third straight day of record heat.

West of Bend, crews stopped a vehicle fire Tuesday afternoon that had begun spreading into the brush and closed Century Drive for a time in front of the Widgi Creek Golf Course.

And at mid-afternoon, crews were responding to a new start, Incident 423, east of Meissner Sno-Park on the Deschutes National Forest. Lava Butte lookout estimated the fire initially at a half-acre. Three engine crews, a hand crew and a bulldozer headed in to tackle it. Officials said the fire was lined by early evening at 1.6 acres, with a hose lay around it and mop-up work was under way, with crews to continue work through the night.

West of Prineville, residents on Peacock Walk off the O'Neil Highway were orders to evacuate due to a wildfire, closing the highway at Elliott Lane and also bringing Level 2 notices for the upper part of Century Drive. All evacuations were lifted as of 7 p.m.

Bend Fire and Rescue said it also responded to several fires Tuesday amid extreme heat conditions, one started by a hot lawn mower on vegetation, another by a dragging chain from a two vehicle, and a third when a decorative landscaping light ignited bark mulch and a fence.

"Thanks to fast actions by standers, Bend Fire crews were able to extinguish all these fires before they grew larger," spokeswoman Trish Connolly said. "The heat will continue into the weekend, and so will our extreme fire conditions. We need everyone to be as diligent as possible, to reduce further fire starts."

Meanwhile, just outside of La Pine, firefighters stopped a fire at a half-acre near Finley Butte Road and Darlene Way; crews were continuing mop-up into the night.

La Pine Rural Fire District Chief Mike Supkis said the fast-moving, wind-driven fire broke out on BLM lands just east of La Pine's industrial area and Russell Road, threatening several structures and dispersed campsites.

The first crew on scene, assisted by two water tenders, made a quick attack, with 1,400 feet of progressive hose lays, holding the fire to half an acre, he said.

With La Pine fire crews helping on a Redmond fire task force, the Central Oregon Fire Service (Forest Service and Oregon Department of Forestry) sent several engines and a hand crew to help with mop-up. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Supkis said.

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Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.

Comments

64 Comments

    1. Is that really necessary? Your a worthless human. Politicize everything because its the new way that you tolerant demorats like to cause this divide in the country. People like you make me sick!

          1. It was 100 degrees at noon on this Tuesday. It’s stupid to sell fireworks in these conditions, regardless if they started THIS particular fire or not.

        1. Well if you knew what you are talking about you would know that this is his MO. He was already saying stupid things like this in another post. Oh and was I talking to you? No? Then shut up.

          1. Public message board. Public message. Anyone can comment. See how that works? If you are so easily triggered, I’d suggest just reading the articles and skipping the comments section.

  1. Any ‘local knowledge’ out there? Most of us will be jumping to the conclusion that this was a homeless area, but I am not personally knowledgable about that area.

    1. There is no proof fireworks caused it.
      Mainly because they are still working on putting it out so they is no proof of whatever caused it. But i’d bet any of you demo-dummies out there $100 bucks that is was not fireworks and rather a “houseless person” just down on their luck.

      1. Hey numbnuts. It doesn’t matter what started it but it shows how dry it is. This is what can happen no matter the ignition source. Which is why you want to limit as many potential sources of ignition as possible.
        Idiots and their politics. Can you talk about anything without bringing contemporary politics?

        1. It doesn’t matter what started it?
          And a potential cause of fire would be “house less” individuals camping illegally wouldn’t it?
          I’m ignoring the “numb nuts” comment in an effort to understand where you are coming from.
          I have posted much less direct digs and Barney dumps me all the time. What up Barney? My nuts are fine, I promise.

        1. Or for the fact i dont like them, why stop at banning homeless camps lets ban being homeless completely! we all know sheriff nelson is looking for something to do in between non-existent craigslist swaps in his parking lot anyways

      1. Watched from the course as two people were taken across on gurneys. Could see tree flame-ups but not the vehicle. Firefighters still checking the line on the 17th right now.

  2. Good luck to everyone and especially thank you to the fire crews who somehow never give up- ktvz i hope youre getting lots of tape because i cant even imagine what heavy air tankers doing drops right off the end of their own runway, looks like

  3. Those Erickson tanker planes are not actually based in Redmond, they are based in Madras. Before Erickson bought out Butler Aircraft they were based in Redmond.

    They use Redmond for fuel and to load retardant however.

    Don’t want to nitpick but since I get nitpicked on replies I couldn’t help myself……..

    1. Ironically shameful Butler Aircraft was chased out of Cal Butler Airfield and relocated to Madras due to the rising costs of doing business in Redmond.

  4. This news reporting is as bad as CNN I called to tell them their reporter reported false news about what was happening she said the power was out in Redmond which was not true and after 3 segments the same false information. Barney sorry but you can’t defend this kind of false reporting.

    1. Good point! Apparently, the workers at McDonald’s and Starbucks wanted to go home, so they posted those signs at their drive-thrus. Oddly, everyone else in the Center still had power!

      1. We all know you had a mini-meltdown when you found out you couldn’t get a Big Mac. That visual of you fuming out in the McDonald’s parking lot made me smile, thanks.

  5. Any word on the explosion and fire out in Prineville around 4 this afternoon- a large black mushroom cloud just East of the Chamber of Commerce. Any news- or is Redmond and Doosh Kounty more important with all them Blue Demokrat Liberal Voters ?

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