Santiam Canyon, McKenzie River residents evacuated as wildfires erupt

Lane County Sheriff's Office

Residents in several communities along the Santiam Canyon were asked to evacuate immediately early Tuesday morning as a fast-moving fire burned along Highway 22.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level 3 — “Go” Evacuation notice to residents in the Santiam Canyon from Cascade Highway SE/Highway 214 and east to Idanha including Gates, Mill City, Detroit, Idanha, Mehama and the North Fork corridor.

Additionally, a Level 3 – “Go” evacuation notice is being issued from to residents in the City of Scotts Mills and south through the Crooked Finger area.

The previous Level 3 evacuations remain in place from Cascade Highway east to Idanha and north along Highway 214 to Drakes Road SE.

The Beachie Creek Fire is in the Opal Creek Wilderness about 2 miles south of Jawbone Flats and 6 miles north of Detroit. The fire is burning in very steep terrain with limited and unsafe access which is limiting options for firefighters, according to officials.

The fire forced the closure of Highway 22 from milepost 82 to milepost 13 to allow evacuees and fire personnel clear passage, according to the MCSO.

An information line for impacted residents is being established by Marion County Emergency Management at 503-391-7294.

An evacuation staging area has been established at the Oregon State Fairgrounds located in Salem. Evacuation updates will be posted to Marion County Sheriff’s Office social media sites as they become available

A second evacuation staging area was established at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds.

“The extreme fire activity in the area poses an imminent danger to anyone who chooses to remain in the evacuated area,” said Sheriff Joe Kast.  “Our deputies are committed to helping keep our community safe; however, conditions have become too dangerous for them to continue with evacuation efforts at this time.  I encourage anyone still in the Santiam Canyon to leave immediately following the deputies out of the area.  I cannot say when the conditions will allow deputies and other emergency responders to return to the area to render assistance.  Please leave now.”

Meanwhile, residents in the McKenzie River area were also asked to evacuate as a wildfire burned nearby.

A Level 3 (GO!) evacuation notice has been issued for everyone from Walterville Elementary east to the McKenzie Ranger Station, including all roads to the north and south of the highway.

The updated evacuation point is Thurston High School for those in Blue River and west of Blue River. Those east of Blue River should travel east to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond (3800 SE Airport Way).

A Level 2 (Be Set) notice has been issued for residents from the McKenzie Ranger Station to the junction of Highway 126 and Highway 20 (Santiam Junction).

Hwy 126 from Walterville Elementary School west to Thurston Road is being upgraded to a Level 2 evacuation – be prepared to go at a moment’s notice.

ODOT has closed Highway 126 between the west entrance of McKenzie River Drive and the east exit of McKenzie River Drive (between mileposts 46.5 to 49.3).

It also is temporarily the Old McKenzie Highway, as a precaution. Gates will be staffed to allow exit but no entrance.


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