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home : current news August 18, 2017

Firefighters plan burnout operations on Milli Fire
The Milli Fire in the area of Black Crater west of Sisters continued to burn actively on Thursday, but did not blow up the way it did on Wednesday, a day that fire officials unanimously agree was "a bad day."

Crossroads and the homes along Edgington Road remain under a Level 2 ("Be Set") evacuation notice, but the fire remains two or more miles away from threatening structures.

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center MORNING Update, August 17
COIDC (Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center) MORNING Update, August 17

As visitation into the central Oregon area is increasing daily, we are asking visitors and residents to use extra caution, follow fire bans, and be prepared during this time leading up to the eclipse. August is always fire season in central Oregon, but with such a large influx of visitors, the potential for human-caused wildfires is increased. Additionally, there are several closures of public lands due to fires in the area as well as the increased visitation of the eclipse, so please "Know Before You Go", be patient, and stay safe.

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Residents put on Level 2 evacuation notice UPDATED - 10:30 a.m.
UPDATE: The Red Cross has opened a shelter for wildfire evacuees in Sisters, Oregon due to the Milli Fire. The shelter is located at Sisters Middle School, 15200 Hwy 242 (McKenzie Highway), Sisters, OR 97759.

Individuals and families affected by the wildfire and in need of shelter assistance are encouraged to simply show up at the shelter for help.

The Red Cross is partnering with the Pet Evacuation Team of Central Oregon to provide accommodations for evacuated pets. A representative from the Pet Evacuation Team will be on-site at the Red Cross shelter to answer questions and assist people coming to the shelter.

UPDATE: The location of a community meeting on the Milli Fire has CHANGED. The public meeting will be held Thursday, August 17, in Sisters from 6 to 7 p.m. at SISTERS HIGH SCHOOL.


Due to increased fire activity on the Milli Fire located west of Sisters, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has issued a Level 2 (Get Set) Evacuation notice for the following areas:

All areas south of Hwy 242 (McKenzie Hwy) and west of the Pole Creek Ditch (1 to 1-1/2 Miles west of and parallel to FS Road 16/Three Creeks Rd). This area includes the Crossroads Subdivision and homes off of Edgington Rd and Remuda Rd. These areas were previously Level 1.

Level 2: Means "BE SET" to evacuate. You must prepare to leave at a moment's notice. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntary relocate to a shelter or with family and friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. Residents MAY have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk. This may be the only notice you receive. Emergency services cannot guarantee that they will be able to notify you if conditions rapidly deteriorate. Area media services will be asked to broadcast periodic updates.

Thursday, August 17, 2017
Public information meeting set on Milli Fire
Thursday, August 17, the Deschutes National Forest and the Type 1 Incident Management Team managing the Milli Fire will host a public meeting to provide information about the fire.

The Milli Fire is located eight miles west of Sisters and approximately 1.5 miles southwest of Black Crater Lake. It has been burning within the Three Sisters Wilderness since last Friday. As of today a Type 1 Incident Management Team (Southwest Team 2) took over management of the Milli Fire and the Belknap fire on the Ochoco National Forest.

The public meeting will be held today, Aug. 17 in Sisters from 6 to 7 p.m. at Sisters Middle School on Highway 242 west of downtown.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Sisters folks make their eclipse plans
For some folks it's the event of a lifetime - for others it's a day to hunker down and avoid the crowds. A Sisters folks have a variety of plans for the morning of August 21, when Sisters will get about 30 seconds of totality in the solar eclipse.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Solar eclipse will roll across Sisters
The Great American Eclipse of 2017 will move across Sisters Country on Monday, August 21. The moon's shadow will cut a 70-mile-wide swath of totality across the country from Oregon to South Carolina. Viewers within the path will see the moon completely cover the sun to reveal the sun's beautiful, tenuous atmosphere, called the corona.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Firefighters take on Milli Fire
Located in the Three Sisters Wilderness, the Milli Fire is estimated at 150 acres and 2% contained. There are currently 141 personnel on the fire including three type 2 crews, 5 IA crews, 3 dozers, 2 masticators, and a variety of overhead resources. The Milli Fire is currently 8 miles west of Sisters and about one and a half miles southwest of Black Crater Lake. Moderate fire activity was observed yesterday and is expected again today with continued fire spread to the east and northeast. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The fire has grown considerably since Tuesday, due to winds on Wed., Aug. 16 firefighters were unable to map the fire for size.)
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Sisters man goes missing at Suttle Lake
A search is continuing for 33-year-old Sisters resident Ben Hendrickson, who was reported missing from the Blue Bay Campground near Suttle Lake on Sunday afternoon. He has not been seen since Saturday night at about 9:30 p.m.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Monday, August 14, 2017
Whychus Fire winding down, Milli Fire ramping up
Firefighters have the upper hand on the Whychus Fire eight miles northeast of Sisters - but they expect the Milli Fire on Black Crater to ramp up and increase in size as access is limited and there are many safety hazards affecting firefighters' ability to attack the blaze.

The Whychus Fire is currently 2,030 acres and 80 percent contained, showing a slight increase in acres due to better mapping.

The Milli Fire, is now estimated at 200 acres and is completely uncontained.

This fire is currently 8 miles west of Sisters and about one and a half miles southwest of Black Crater Lake. The Milli Fire received a load of seven rappellers yesterday who will work to secure the heel of the fire into the Black Crater Lake fire scar. Other resources assigned to the Milli Fire include a 15 person hand crew, 4 dozers, and 2 excavators.

For up-to-date information on closures on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and trail reroute options, visit

Monday, August 14, 2017
Evacuation notices lifted on Whychus Fire
A Type 3 incident management team assumed command of the Milli Fire burning in the Three Sisters Wilderness, about one and a half miles west of Black Crater Lake and eight miles west of Sisters.

The Milli fire is currently 110 acres and is uncontained. Fire line is being constructed outside of the wilderness to serve as a contingency line to protect private land. The following areas are temporarily closed for public safety:

· Forest Road 1018 is closed from Highway 242 to Forest Road 15.

· Forest Road 1520 is closed from Forest Road 1018 to Forest Road 15.

· The Millican Crater Trailheads located at Lava Camp Lake and Forest Road 1024 are closed.

· The Scott Pass Trailhead located on Forest Road 1026 is closed. Black Crater Trailhead located off Highway 242 is closed.

· Whispering Pine campground located at the junction of Forest Road 1018 and 1520 is closed.

The Whychus fire, about 8 miles northeast of Sisters is currently 2012 acres and 60 percent contained. All evacuation orders associated with the Whychus fire have been lifted.

Monday, August 14, 2017
Firefighters continue work on Sisters Country blazes
Firefighters worked through the night on the Whychus fire, about 8 miles northeast of Sisters. The fire had been lined by dozers at 34 acres, but yesterday's gusty winds pushed embers over fire lines and the fire is now 1,539 acres.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Sunday, August 13, 2017
Whychus Fire jumps containment lines
The Whychus Fire northeast of Sisters has jumped containment lines. A Level 1 notice has been issued for the southwest portion of Lower Bridge Road - a notice to be prepared for possible evacuation. Air tankers are making water and retardant drops. They have put retardant around one structure. There are two tankers and a helicopter currently working the fire, as well as multiple engines and bulldozers, with more dozers on the way.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
Milli fire closures in place
The Sisters Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest has issued temporary road, trails, and trailhead closures around the Milli fire, burning about 8 miles west of Sisters.

The Milli fire started by lightning yesterday one and a half miles west of Black Crater Lake. Fire activity intensified this afternoon and the fire grew to an estimated 70 acres, burning into dead and down timber from the 2006 Black Crater fire.

The Deschutes National Forest has issued the following temporary closures for public safety:

TRAILHEADS: Black Crater Trailhead, Millican Crater Trailhead and Scott Pass Trailhead

TRAILS: Black Crater Trail #4058, Millican Crater Trail #4066 and Trout Creek Tie #4067

ROADS: Forest Service Road 1024 to Millican Crater Trailhead

A Type 3 incident management team is assigned to the Milli fire and expected to take command of the fire tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Fire breaks out on Black Crater - UPDATED 2:55 p.m.
The Milli Fire is now estimated at 50 acres.

A lightning-sparked fire is burning on Black Crater Saturday afternoon. The fire is located about two miles east of Lava Camp and two miles southwest of Black Crater lake, west of Sisters.

The fire was reported earlier to be 15-20 acres, but scanner traffic indicated that the fire was growing. It is burning into the fire scar from the Black Crater Fire of 2006.

Firefighting resources are stretched thin as crews battle numerous blazes across the western states. During the last 48 hours, the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center has responded to 89 new incidents, 61 of which have been wildfires.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for most of Central and Eastern Oregon today and will remain in effect until 11 p.m. this evening. The forecast calls for more lightning activity and gusty outflow winds today with breezy conditions tomorrow.

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an Air Quality Alert for Crook, Deschutes, Wheeler, Jefferson, Grant and Wasco counties for yesterday and this morning, but expects increased wind activity this afternoon to help clear the skies and improve air quality today.

Saturday, August 12, 2017
Fire crews get line around fire northeast of Sisters
Fire crews are responding to more than 20 new lightning starts across Central Oregon as a result of a weather system that moved through the area yesterday evening.

The largest start on federally-managed land is the Whychus Fire, located about 8 miles northeast of Sisters on the Deschutes National Forest. The fire is mapped at 34.5 acres, burning in brush and timber fuels near the intersection of Forest Roads 63 and 6360.

Crews have completely surrounded the fire with both hand and dozer line. Firefighters remain on scene today to secure the perimeter and begin mopping up.

Friday, August 11, 2017
Fire ban extended to private lands
Mirroring a ban starting today on fires on public lands, the Central Oregon Fire Chiefs Association has extended restrictions to cover private lands as well.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Friday, August 11, 2017
Campfire ban in place for forest starting Friday
With increased fire activity and an influx of visitors coming to Central Oregon for the solar eclipse, public land managers for the Bureau of Land Management, Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests and Crooked River National Grassland will implement a ban on open campfires and Industrial Fire Precaution Level 4 on Friday.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 11, campfires, including charcoal and pellet fires, will no longer be allowed on public lands. This is a change from the implementation of Public Use Restrictions on July 18, which limited campfires to designated campgrounds. This fire ban includes all wilderness areas.

Portable cooking stoves or lanterns using liquefied or bottled fuel may be used in all areas.

Thursday, August 10, 2017
Road to Black Butte closed during eclipse
Deschutes National Forest officials are preparing for an influx of visitors to the forest for the 2017 solar eclipse. While only a small portion of the area will be in the path of totality, the Deschutes National Forest is a beautiful place to experience this special event.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Reunion recalls pioneer history
In the early part of the 20th century, wheat farmers from Sherman County, Oregon, would seek respite from the hot, backbreaking August work of bringing in the wheat harvest by trekking west in wagon and buggy to the banks of the Metolius River.

There they would camp, relax, fish and play, much as people do in 2017. So popular did the destination become for those wheat farmers that the area came to be known as Camp Sherman - the name the community retains to this day.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
A mystery pigeon in Sisters
One day last week, Ann Richardson's husband, Clyde, was just coming into the house out on Whychus Creek when a large flock of rock doves went flashing by his place. When he looked again, there was a strange pigeon perched over a doorway to his house. When he went in for a closer look, the bird didn't fly off, but allowed him to get close enough that he could see a black band with the number 15 on one leg.

What do you do when a pigeon, looking like a domesticated rock dove, or "Homer" drops in on you? That's what Ann and Clyde are wondering.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

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