Record-breaking heat, bone dry conditions and late afternoon winds fueled widlfires Tuesday that forced evacuations, diverted flights and closed the Redmond Airport.
The north end of Robert’s Field was evacuated late Tuesday afternoon as crews worked to save key buildings and the airport was closed until further notice.
The Air Center itself was under a Level 2 “Get Set” evacuation notice as of Tuesday afternoon.
Central Oregon Fire Information said strengthening winds increased the fire behavior on Incident 422, just north of the Air Center and a heavy air tanker had been ordered.
The fire size was downgraded around 6 p.m. to between 50 and 100 acres by Central Oregon Fire Information acres immediately north of the Redmond Air Center.
Great video of a retardant drop on the right flank of incident 422 north of the Redmond Air Center.
The acreage estimate has been downgraded to 50-100 acres. pic.twitter.com/DK9YxNRCOz
— Central OR Fire Info (@CentralORFire) June 30, 2021
Firefighters are using Highway 126 as a primary containment line to the south. Fire is also pushing north near the Antler fire area and the two have essentially combined, fire officials said.
Earlier, the Antler Fire burned about 20 acres near SE 9th St. and East Antler Avenue after a fire there moved too quickly for the initial crews, forcing them to retreat.
Everyone north of Hemlock Avenue was forced to evacuate, including hundreds of employees from areas businesses.
Some even watered down roofs as a precaution.
“Right now, while we have the opportunity, we’re still flying this event, putting retardant drops and putting water on all the hot spots as best we can, trying to mop up as best we can, before it gets dark,” said Redmond Fire & Rescue Chief Ken Kehmna. “But, throughout the night, we’ll continue to do mop-up and try and make sure we don’t have any wind on it and kick up any new fire starts.”
Kehnma said the fire was about 50% contained as of 4:45 p.m.
A picture of incident 419 northeast of Redmond from the air. pic.twitter.com/ITHJCIvWRO
— Central OR Fire Info (@CentralORFire) June 29, 2021
Deschutes County has set up a has set up a hotline for residents to call for evacuation information. If you are in the area of incident 419 northeast of Redmond, please call 541-550-4850 for more information.
A temporary evacuation area has been set up at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.