Lookout Fire updates continue

Some "Leave Now" areas are now at Level 2


August 24, 2023 | View PDF

“Level 1 is where we want people up here to be all the time” was the assessment Lane County Sheriff Cliff Howard delivered to people gathered to hear updates on the status of the Lookout Fire. Speaking at the McKenzie High School gym last Thursday, the sheriff went on to add that because most people in the McKenzie Valley live in a wildland/urban interface, they should be “thoughtful about these things throughout the year and have a little higher level of awareness.”

Residents in the areas north of Hwy. 126 from Blue River Reservoir Road east to Drury Lane near the McKenzie Bridge Airstrip had been on a Level 3 evacuation notice. “I know what it means when we tell you to leave your house,” Howard said. “That’s a pretty big deal and it’s a responsibility that weighs heavily on me.”

On Tuesday, areas north of Hwy. 126 east of the 0.5 milepost on Mill Creek Road to the east end of Taylor Road were changed to a Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation notice.

Some of the contributing factors behind a decision to evacuate include the density of population in a particular area, the number of homes and people who live there, and “how long it will take us to hit every door in that zone,” to tell people to leave, the sheriff said.

Tom Wright, an incident meteorologist with the National Weather Service, noted that the area was coming out of a historic heat wave with temperatures in the 100-degree range, very dry conditions, and some offshore easterly winds. “Luckily we’re kind of climbing out of that now,” Wright said. The change, he felt, could contribute to lowering the fire weather severity from “elevated” through the weekend to “moderate” for Monday through Thursday, based on data from a weather station that had been placed just east of the Lookout Fire.

To access videos from the meeting, go to: tinyurl.com/y496z653.


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