New 300-acre Coast Range wildfire prompts evacuations near Mapleton
(Update: Information on new wildfire in western Lane County)
MAPLETON, Ore. (KTVZ) – Three wildfires broke out near Mapleton in the Coast Range on Sunday, soon merging and prompting evacuations of nearby residents, while other crews fought a blaze burning in steep, forested terrain northeast of Sweet Home, the Oregon Department of Forestry said.
The Sweet Creek Milepost 2 was reported around 2:30 p.m. about a mile west of Mapleton in western Lane County as three separate fires, but they soon burned together, ODF Public Information Officer Jim Gersbach said.
The fire had burned about 300 acres by nightfall, with more growth possible overnight, but Gersbach said reports late Sunday indicated the blaze was moving uphill and away from the town of about 900.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office issued Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders for residents along Hadsell Creek Road and a Level 2 (Get Set) pre-evacuation notice for Sweet Creek Road residents.
At least six aircraft and more than a half-dozen engine crews made the initial attack on the blaze, soon assisted by two helicopters, two air tankers and two single-engine air tankers (SEAT planes), into the early evening.
ODF’s Western Lane District called for more resources, which will be arriving Monday.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
For the latest evacuation information, go to https://www.lanecounty.org/news/sweetcreekfires.
As more information is received, updates will be posted on ODF’s wildfire blog at https://odfwildfire.wpengine.com.
Meanwhile, firefighters had to enlist boats late Saturday to reach a new wildfire burning in steep, dense woods on a roadless peninsula in Green Peter Lake northeast of Sweet Home.
The Green Peter Peninsula Fire, estimated Sunday at about 15 acres, was reported about 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Gersbach said.
Several engines from ODF's Sweet Home office responded. Upon reaching the lake, they were quickly aided by private boaters who helped them ferry pumps, hoses and other equipment to the peninsula so they could engage on the fire.
Boats from the Linn County Sheriff's Office, Linn County Parks and Sweet Home Fire also assisted ODF firefighters in getting to and from the peninsula, about 12 miles northeast of Sweet Home.
Two helicopters have been engaged since Saturday, one from a private industrial landowner and the other on contract with the U.S. Forest Service. The helicopters have been dropping water from the lake onto the fire.
Nearly 40 personnel were working Sunday to contain the fire, burning in thickly forested, steep terrain on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management's Northwest Oregon District, Cascades Field Office.
No evacuations are anticipated, officials said, but the Whitcomb Creek County Park and its boat ramp were closed to the public, as it's being used as a staging area for firefighting operations.
Boaters were asked to use the Thistle Creek boat ramp instead and to avoid the Quartzville Arm of the lake, so as not to interfere with the helicopters as they refill from that part of the lake. Quartzville Drive, also known as the Quartzville Back County Byway, remains open.
The cause of the fire, which threatens no structures, is under investigation.