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Cedar Creek Fire puts up big smoke plume visible from Central Oregon; Rum Creek Fire threatens 7,600 structures

Cedar Creek Fire was sending large smoke plume aloft Tuesday, visible from places like the dock at Lava Lake
Sally Russell
Cedar Creek Fire was sending large smoke plume aloft Tuesday, visible from places like the dock at Lava Lake

(Update: Info on smoke plume from Cedar Creek Fire)

Task force of 15 firefighters from 6 C.O. agencies joins Rum Creek fight

GALICE, Ore. (AP) — The Rum Creek Fire in remote southwest Oregon has burned nearly 12,000 acres, or nearly 19 square miles, is threatening thousands of homes and is only about 1% contained. More than 1,300 firefighters are on scene, including a Central Oregon task force of 15 from six agencies.

Meanwhile, many Central Oregonians were seeing and asking about a large smoke plume to the west Tuesday that was coming from the nearly month-old, lightning sparked Cedar Creek Fire, which has burned over 7,800 acres west of Waldo Lake and east of Oakridge. It was reported at 12% containment as of Tuesday morning, with 821 personnel on scene.

Cedar Creek Public Information Officer Brenda Ahlberg said the hot, dry and unstable weather has the fire burning more actively on the northern side, but still within the fire's current footprint. She said it’s moving into “heavy fuel loads, heavy, large timbers.”

“Because of the temperatures and fire weather today, certainly we’re seeking large smoke columns, and we’re going to keep seeing them into the late afternoon,” Ahlberg said.

With regards to the Rum Creek Fire, as of Tuesday morning, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said 5,035 homes and more than 2,600 other structures were at risk, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Officials have said the fire has destroyed one home and two structures.

High temperatures and shifting winds in the next several days are expected to increase fire danger and cause the blaze to become more active, officials said.

Mandatory evacuations are in place for dozens of homes near the towns of Rand and Galice. Lower-level evacuations are in effect for some surrounding areas.

Heavy smoke kept temperatures down and helped increase humidity levels, so fire activity slowed on Monday, the update said. The smoke also curtailed air operations and the fire grew by nearly 3.1 square miles (8 square kilometers).

More than 1,300 firefighters are working the blaze, with additional personnel arriving.

Central Oregon sent a task force to the Rum Creek fire Monday afternoon. Bend, Redmond, Cloverdale, Jefferson County, Alfalfa and Sisters sent resources, according to John Hendricks, public affairs specialist with the Office of State Fire Marshal. The task force is made up of 15 firefighters, four engines, one water tender and a command vehicle.

Crews from California are working with the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office on structure protection, including areas east of the fire, where it is most active, officials said.

An air quality advisory has been issued for the area, with the worst rating possible — hazardous — in Grants Pass, according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

Josephine County and fire officials will hold a community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at North Valley High School in Grants Pass. It will be broadcast it on Facebook Live.

Elsewhere, the Crockets Knob Fire about 20 miles north of Prairie City is at 1,859 acres and ad zero containment.

Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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