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home : current news September 23, 2017

A ringside seat for Milli Fire fight
When the Milli Fire burst onto the Sisters horizon in August, Doug and Jessica Mohr occupied a front-row seat. Situated past the Cow Camp off J-15, the Mohr residence commands a stellar view of the mountains. From the comfort of their porch, they remember watching the flames during a party on Saturday, August 12.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
How did the Milli Fire get so big?
"Perfect storm" is a term being bandied around lately in the reporting of wildfires, floods, hurricanes and other natural and man-made catastrophes.

Unfortunately, at the time of a lightning strike nine miles west of Sisters on August 10, the situation meteorologically, coupled with heavy deployment of firefighting resources elsewhere, both nationally and locally, combined to create the perfect firestorm dubbed the Milli Fire.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Pilot flies puppies to forever homes
Private pilot John Dunlap of Sisters loves to fly and has owned his own small aircraft, a Cessna 180 Skywagon, for six years. He volunteers time maintaining backcountry airstrips in Oregon as a member of the Oregon Pilots Association. The airstrips support rural communities.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Man's legacy will support environmental protection
Gil Staender, a long-time resident of Camp Sherman and the Sisters area, loved the great outdoors. He was a guide on Mt. Hood and summited more than 50 times. He was active in the Mazamas, The Nature Conservancy, the National Audubon Society, Greenpeace, Utah Wilderness Coalition, and other conservation societies.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Highway 242 to remain closed due to fire
The McKenzie Highway is a scenic byway and a favorite ride for bicyclists and motorcycle riders from across the region. This summer, it's also served as an anchor point for containment lines around the northern and western edges of the 24,079-acre Milli Fire.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Milli Fire begins to wind down in Sisters
The crisis that began in Sisters on August 12 when the Milli Fire began has abated. Evacuation orders have been lifted, smoke is clearing and some areas of the forest closed due to the fire are again accessible.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Milli Fire closure area reduced
Moderate growth and decreased fire behavior has prompted Sisters Ranger District officials to reduce the size of the area closure in place for the Milli Fire, which will allow access to Deschutes National Forest-managed lands between Highway 242 and Highway 20 southeast of Black Butte Ranch. Cold Springs Campground will also be open on a first come-first served basis for the remainder of the season.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Friday, September 8, 2017
Sisters schools cancel classes Thursday
Sisters School District cancelled classes Thursday due to extreme smoky conditions. The district sent students home yesterday for the same reason. The Sisters Folk Festival also announced cancellation yesterday.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Sisters Folk Festival forced to cancel due to smoke
The Sisters Folk Festival Board of Directors announced Wednesday afternoon, September 6, that the event has been cancelled due to ongoing severe air quality conditions due to wildfire smoke.

The Festival issued a statement:

"It is with profound regret that the Board of Directors of the Sisters Folk Festival announces that the September 8 - 10, 2017 event has been cancelled due to extremely poor air quality conditions in Central Oregon.

"After days of intensive consultation with fire managers, meteorologists and health professionals, we have determined that we cannot move forward with the festival without severely compromising the quality of the experience for our artists and our patrons. The well-being of our patrons, artists and volunteers is of paramount concern for the Sisters Folk Festival organization.

"Predicted weather and smoke forecasts through the weekend do not allow us to stage the event with confidence that their well-being and the quality of experience you all have come to expect and appreciate can be delivered.

"The Festival attempted to establish contingencies and alternatives at the Sisters Schools. Unfortunately, given that the schools were forced to close this week due to smoke conditions, we could not confidently establish that the air quality even indoors will be adequate.

"This is an unprecedented event in the 22-year history of the Sisters Folk Festival and this decision was made with heavy hearts, fully mindful of the multitude of personal, civic and economic ramifications cancellation will have for everyone connected to our Festival community."

"It will take a week or more for the Festival to assess our financial commitments and the impact this cancellation will have upon the Festival and community. Further information on our next steps will be provided as soon as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate through this difficult and unprecedented event."

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Evacuation levels lowered for residents
While Sisters Country continued to live under a pall of smoke over Labor Day Weekend, some residents got a welcome piece of fire-related news. Level 2 evacuation notices were lowered to Level 1 Sunday afternoon, affecting the subdivisions of Crossroads, Edgington/Remunda, Wildwing, Peterson Burn Road area, and along both sides of Three Creek Lake Road south of the Brooks Scanlon Logging Road (FS 4606).
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Road guards inform and protect
As the Milli Fire grew over the past couple weeks, so has the number of road closures. With an increase in closures comes the need to provide security, protection, and information for locals and visitors. And road guards play a key role in this process.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Fire meeting set Tuesday, 5 p.m.
A public meeting on Milli Fire conditions will be held today, September 5, at 5 p.m. at Sisters High School auditorium. A panel of fire managers and local agency leaders will be present to answer questions.
Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Level 2 evacuation notices lowered
Level 2 evacuation notices have been lowered to Level 1 this afternoon. Current evacuation levels include:

Lowered from Level 2 to Level 1 - The subdivisions of Crossroads, Edgington/Remunda, Wildwing, Peterson Burn Road Area, and along both sides of Three Creeks Lake Road (FS 16) south of the Brooks Scanlon Logging Rd (FS 4606)

Remain at Level 1 - All areas between Hwy 20 and Hwy 242 west of the City of Sisters, which includes the subdivision of Tollgate and Black Butte Ranch. This area does not include the City of Sisters.

Level 1: Means "BE READY" for potential evacuation.

Sunday, September 3, 2017
Sisters is open for business, despite smoky conditions
Conditions are smoky in Sisters this morning, after a couple of days of improved air quality. It is hoped that the smoke will lift off this afternoon as temperatures rise.

A stand of timber burned inside the Milli Fire perimeter yesterday around mid-day which caused a brief increase in smoke and dark skies in Sisters. The majority of smoke in the Sisters area is coming from several other fires burning in the region.

Sisters is open for business and ready to host visitors over the holiday weekend. The Sisters Folk Festival, scheduled for September 8-10, is going forward as planned.

A Red Flag Warning - which means critical weather conditions will occur - has been issued for Central Oregon this weekend. Fire weather will be hot, dry, and unstable.

Fire managers report that air operations used bucket drops to continue to strengthen containment lines to the east of the fire yesterday. Two helicopters are available to fly in clear skies and ensure containment lines will hold as well as complete reconnaissance flights. The north, southeast and south perimeters of the fire continue to be in patrol and mop up status. The west side of the fire continues to move downslope toward the lava.

The increase in temperatures and decrease in relative humidity over the next few days could result in more active fire behavior within the fire perimeter. Fire managers are confident that containment lines will hold. The increase in fire behavior will also affect other fires in the area, which could produce visible columns or additional smoke in the area.

Several engines worked to protect the Lava Camp Lake area and will continue to do so as the fire burns to the west. Fallers began removing hazard trees on Highway 242 however the road will remain closed as additional work will be required to remove hazards. It will be closed until Oregon Department of Transportation has assessed the condition of the road and can ensure it is safe for travel.

Saturday, September 2, 2017
Cloverdale firefighters knock down coop blaze
While all eyes were on the Milli Fire raging to the west of Sisters last week, Cloverdale firefighters caught a fire in a chicken coop before it could spread to an attached building.

Friday, September 1, 2017
Fire activity will cause travel delays
Motorists traveling between the Willamette Valley and Central Oregon should be prepared for long delays on Oregon highways because of wildland firefighting activities.

Areas around the Highway 20/22 route through the Detroit Lake area and on to Sisters are experiencing a number of active wildfires that are causing road closures and delays. Motorists traveling over the Cascades during the busy Labor Day weekend should visit to assess travel conditions.

The busy Highway 20 corridor over Santiam Pass has been particularly affected by the fires. Just west of the Pass, ODOT has been forced to use a pilot car to direct two-way traffic for 1.5 miles on Highway 20 (mileposts 76-77.4) because of fire fighting activities. Travelers should expect flagging with a pilot car that will be used from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. While both lanes are open in the evening between 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the flagging with a pilot car could be activated at any time depending on the fire situation.

Friday, September 1, 2017
Cycle Oregon Classic 2017 cancelled due to wildfire impacts
Cycle Oregon has sent out notice that the 2017 event, which was scheduled to run its final leg through Sisters on September 16, has been cancelled due to wildfire impacts. This is the first cancellation in the event's history.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Art at the Ranch still on for Friday, Saturday cancelled
Due to the recent and forecasted air quality concerns and reports from public health officials, meteorologists and local fire officials, the Art at the Ranch Art Fair festivities scheduled for this Saturday, September 2, have been cancelled.

The BBR Art guild invites the public to a reception Friday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lodge Brooks Room for and Artist Reception and Silent Auction featuring Art at the Ranch artists and live music.

Thursday, August 31, 2017
UK crew learn about wildland firefighting
A team of four Hampshire Fire and Rescue firefighters visited Sisters for two weeks as part of a U.S./UK exchange program with the Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD. A few members of the fire department go to Hampshire's station to learn urban firefighting, while the Hampshire team learns wildland firefighting.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Rodeo provides money for community support
Sisters Rodeo Association is vested in supporting its community and many communities throughout Oregon.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

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