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home : current news August 22, 2017

Sanctuary saves cow from slaughter
Last March Harmony Farm Sanctuary (HFS) in Sisters rescued a baby calf.

When three-day-old "Norman" arrived at HFS, he developed scours and pneumonia, both of which are major causes of young calf death. Since he was a dairy calf, he was pulled from his mom at birth and did not get the colostrum essential for health and, often, survival.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
The tribulations of evacuation
The Milli fire burning west of Sisters reared up like an angry dragon and roared forth in flame and billowing smoke on Wednesday, August 16, exploding from 150 acres to over 3,000 in an afternoon. Neighborhoods in the fire's shadow were put on notice to be alert to the danger looming on the horizon.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
School start pushed back due to fire
The Sisters School District canceled a staff work day on Tuesday due to poor air quality conditions associated with heavy smoke from the Milli Fire. That means the start of the school year has been pushed back.

Superintendent Curt Scholl reported, "As of today (Tuesday, August 22), the first day for 1st through 9th grade will be Tuesday, August 29. Our 10th through 12th graders will start on August 30.

"Additionally, we are developing a plan for the district around air quality concerns as we anticipate dealing with smoke issues through the duration of this fire."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Focus on active western end of Milli Fire
Firefighters are concentrating efforts on the active western edge of the 11,236-acre Milli Fire.

Fire officials report that the fire was active yesterday as it burned in the Three Sisters Wilderness south of Highway 242. The western edge of the fire was active on the north side of Black Crater and continued backing downslope on both flanks in the areas of Lava Lake Camp and North Matthieu Lake.

Fire managers report that they are doing advance planning and closely looking at the potential for fire growth originating from the active western flank of the fire. They recognize that this fire, pushed by the prevailing wind pattern, has the potential of moving north out of the wilderness and then east toward populated areas.

Fire crews are actively engaging in operations to contain the fire in this area thereby allowing residents to return to their homes.

The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office, in consultation with its partners on the Millli Fire, reports that they are continually evaluating the need for possible changes to evacuation notices.

The area between Highway 242 and Highway 20 west of Cold Springs Road, including Black Butte Ranch, is now on Level 1 (be ready) evacuation notice; all other areas remain at the same level of evacuation notice, including the evacuated areas of Crossroads, Edgington Road and Forest Road 16.

"Every effort is being made to return residents to their homes but this cannot be done until the safety of the public can be assured," they report.

Fire behavior is expected to increase today as temperature rise and humidity lowers. Aircraft are available to assist firefighters to slow the fire's growth.

A public meeting is set for tonight at 6 p.m. at Sisters High School, where fire personnel and other agency representatives are expected to provide updates on fire conditions and evacuation status.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Hot, dry and breezy today on Milli Fire
Conditions are smoky in Sisters as the 11,236-acre Milli Fire continues to burn to the west and southwest of town. Smoke is likely to be heavy at times in local communities.

The area between Highway 242 and Highway 20 west of Cold Springs Road, including Black Butte Ranch, is now on Level 1 (be ready) evacuation notice; all other areas remain at the same level of evacuation notice, including the evacuated areas of Crossroads, Edgington Road and Forest Road 16.

A public meeting is set for tonight at 6 p.m. at Sisters High School, where fire personnel and other agency representatives are expected to provide updates on fire conditions and evacuation status.

The weather will play a role in fire conditions today. Hot temperatures are forecast for Tuesday with highs in the 80s and 90s. It's dry, and breezy west to northwest winds are forecast in the afternoon. Gusts to 25 mph are possible.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Sisters was quiet for eclipse
As local residents of Sisters awoke to smoke-filled skies, many out-of-town visitors prepared for the coming full solar eclipse.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Milli Fire burns near Sisters
What started as a small lightning-sparked fire on Black Crater in the Three Sisters Wilderness west of Sisters blew up into a raging wildfire that has burned over 10,000 acres and has displaced hundreds of Sisters-area residents.
Monday, August 21, 2017
What air power can - and can't - do on a fire
There's no more impressive sight than a heavy tanker swooping out of the smoke over a forest fire, dropping a vivid red smear of retardant. For local residents, it's comforting to hear the tankers rumbling over the rooftops to do battle with the smoky monster that looms on the horizon over their town.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Black Butte Ranch under Level 1 evacuation notice
Due to increased fire activity on the Milli Fire, located west of Sisters, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has issued a Level 1 (BE READY) Pre-Evacuation notice for the following areas: All areas between Hwy 242 and Hwy 20 and west of Cold Springs Cuttoff Rd (FS 1012), which includes Black Butte Ranch.

Level 1: Means "BE READY" for potential evacuation. Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movements of persons with special needs, mobile property and (under certain circumstances) pets and livestock. If conditions worsen, emergency services personnel may contact you via an emergency notification system.

All areas previously under previous evacuation notices remain.

Monday, August 21, 2017
Milli fire at more than 10,000 acres
The Milli fire is now estimated at 10,496 acres.

Fire officials report that the main part of the fire was active overnight and is expected to continue to burn on the west and southwest flanks as it backs into the wilderness area.

The fire grew toward Lava Lake Camp and toward North Matthieu Lake. Crews and masticators will work along Highway 242 today to clear heavy fuels and strengthen the control line.

Firefighters on Sunday were able to make very good progress extending and strengthening handlines and dozer lines along the north, east and southeast flanks in an effort to protect private lands and communities.

Aircraft made multiple water drops on pockets of burning fuel along Whychus Creek near Forest Road 16.

Moderate fire behavior is expected today with possible isolated torching.

Evacuation orders remain in place, to be reevaluated today.

Monday, August 21, 2017
Firefighters gain 20 percent containment on Milli Fire
Moderate temperatures, higher humidity levels and favorable wind conditions allowed firefighters to gain ground on the 9,331-acre Milli Fire burning west and southwest of Sisters on Sunday.

Conditions are again smoky in Sisters on Monday morning and, like yesterday, smoke should begin to lift in late morning as the sun hits the cool inversion layer. Smoke monitoring information is available at:

Smoky conditions may affect viewing of the solar eclipse, which will have about 30 seconds of totality in Sisters a little before 10:30 a.m. Regardless of smoke filtering the light, viewers of the eclipse must use certified eclipse viewing glasses at all times except for the brief period of totality or risk damage to their eyes.

All evacuation orders remained in place on the Milli Fire overnight. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office reported last night that they plan to meet with partner agencies today, August 21, and will reevaluate the situation.

Deschutes County Emergency Services Manager Sgt. Nathan Garibay of the DSCO Sheriff's Office told The Nugget that the decision to lift an evacuation and allow people to return home is based on a variety of factors with public safety and firefighter safety at the top of the list.

"That's always a tough one," he said. "We're not going to lift evacuations until there's confidence that it's absolutely safe. It changes every day and it's always based on current expected fire behavior."

Weather conditions are expected to be similar to yesterday, which should give firefighters a good opportunity to strengthen and extend containment lines.

Garibay said that "people have been very understanding and we really appreciate the patience and understanding Sisters has shown. It's just another example of what makes Sisters a great community."

Monday, August 21, 2017
CEC responding to BBR outage
Central Electric Cooperative technicians are responding to an outage affecting 252 accounts at Black butte Ranch. The outage was reported at about 7 a.m. Sunday.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Firefighters start to make progress against Milli Fire
Conditions in Sisters are smoky on Sunday morning, August 20, as an inversion holds smoke from the Milli Fire west and southwest of Sisters close to the ground. Smoke is expected to lift as the sun heats the inversion layer, and will likely clear out around 11 a.m. or noon. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels - which continue today - gave firefighters an opportunity on Saturday to make headway in a tough fight against the 7,814-acre fire, which is now the highest-priority fire in the U.S., according to fire officials.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Sunday, August 20, 2017
New fire closures in place
Forest Road 16 up to the Three Sisters Wilderness, the campgrounds around Three Creeks Lake, and the Peterson Ridge Trail System south of town are under a new closure due to the Milli fire.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Be alert to health effects of wildfire smoke
When the Milli fire, located southwest of Sisters, flared up last Wednesday, growing from 260 acres to 3,500, smoke from the fire became a concern for residents in the area surrounding the fire.

For some, smoke causes minor eye and nose irritation, some develop headaches. But, for those with underlying health issues, smoke is much more than an inconvenience - it can be life-threatening and, at the very least, an irritant causing potentially serious medical concerns.

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Active day expected on Milli Fire
The Sisters skyline is a wall of gray smoke, with individual plumes rising off of Trout Creek Butte on Saturday morning. The Milli Fire has grown to 7,814 acres, as gusty winds on Friday pushed the fire to the east-southeast. Approximately 600 residents in the Edgington/Remuda Road and Crossroads subdivisions, along Three Creeks Lake Road (FS 16 Road) were placed under Level 3 immediate evacuation notice. The Tollgate subdivision remains on a Level 1 (Get Ready) evacuation notice. The Type 1 incident management team working the fire reports that crews worked overnight with dozers to build a direct line on the leading edge of the fire, with engine crews patrolling the area and looking for spot fires. Temperatures today (Saturday) are expected to be a few degrees cooler with higher humidity. However, the winds that pushed the fire on Friday will be back, with gusts up to 22 miles an hour, from around 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. creating the potential for more embers to cross the fireline and create new spot fires.
(Click headline for complete story.)

Saturday, August 19, 2017
Milli Fire now at 6,888 acres
The Milli Fire has grown to an estimated 6,888 acres and remains uncontained on Friday evening.

Immediate evacuations have been ordered for residents as the Milli Fire continues to push to the east. The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office is asking residents one both sides of Three Creeks Road (Forest Service Road 16 from Sisters) south to Forest Service 1514 Road to go now, in a Level 3 evacuation.

Residents of Crossroads and the Edgington Road area have already been required to evacuate under a Level 3 notification. Tollgate remains at Level 1.

Oregon Department of Transportation has extended the closure of Highway 242 from the west side of the Cascade Crest to approximately 1.5 miles west of Sisters at the junction of Forest Road 15.

A Red Cross Evacuation Shelter has been opened at Sisters Middle School. Evacuees are encouraged to register with the Red Cross Safe and Well program which allows loved ones to check on the whereabouts of residents.

Sisters Rodeo Grounds is open for large animal evacuations. If you need assistance with evacuation contact Pet Evacuations Team at 541-610-6628.

For additional information on the Milli Fire, call 541-316-7711. To find out what level of evacuation your home or community is in, visit:

Friday, August 18, 2017
Crossroads subdivision, Remuda, Edgington, Peterson Burn, Wildwing Roads on Level 3 GO Evacuation - UPDATE 6 p.m. August 18 - ADDITIONAL LEVEL 3 EVACUATION NOTICE
All residences on both sides of Three Creeks Lake Road, between the Brooks Scanlon Mainline Road (USFS Road 4606), south to the intersection of Three Creeks Lake Road and USFS Road 1514 have been given the Level 3 evacuation notice - go now.


Due to increased fire activity on the Milli Fire located west of Sisters, the Deschutes County Sheriff's Office has issued the following evacuation notices:

A Level 3 (Go Now) Evacuation notice is issued for the following areas: Crossroads Subdivision, residents in the Edgington Road, Remuda Road, Wildwing Road, Peterson Burn Road area.

Level 3: Means "GO" evacuate now. Leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuation immediately. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available to assist you further. DO NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home. This will be the last notice you receive.

Sisters Ranger District fire information officer Jinny Reed reported that conflagration resources for structure protection are in areas of imminent threat. The fire is approximately one mile south of Edgington Road residences - the greatest threat is to those with homes in the south end of that community.

The fire is approximately 2+ miles south of Crossroads.

Retardant is on the fire's edge.

A Level 2 (Get Set) Evacuation notice is out for the following areas: Residents on both sides of Three Creek Rd (USFS Road 16) from the City limits of Sisters south to the USFS 1514 Road.

(Click here to read the entire story)

Friday, August 18, 2017
Firefighters conduct burnout operations
Firefighters are conducting burnout operations along Forest Road 15 to combat the Milli fire burning west of Sisters. The operation is throwing significant smoke into the air, but fire officials report that all containment lines are holding at this point.

Residents of Crossroads remain under Level 2 evacuation notice, which means they should be ready to evacuate. Tollgate is under a Level 1 notice, which urges them to be alert to the potential danger in the area and prepare to act if needed.

Firefighting crews are working to develop primary containment lines and building alternate lines as backup. Yesterday evening crews tried to take advantage of more favorable conditions to conduct burn out operations as a tactic to strengthen containment lines.

Depending on the terrain, crews are working off existing roadways to develop containment line, or are using heavy equipment like dozers to cut line through previously fire scarred areas.

The fire acreage of 4,565 has not yet been updated, and the fire remains uncontained.

Today's activities are focusing on the north and east sides of the fire that are closest to threatened communities. Numerous spot fires are developing and crews are actively identifying them and containing them where possible, fire officials report.

Oregon State Fire Marshal Green Team IMT has arrived along with five task forces of engines to assist with structure protection. Today these units are focusing on the communities of Crossroads and Edington Road. These resources were made available when Governor Kate Brown invoked the Conflagration Act. This action authorizes resources from across the state to respond and assist the greater Sisters community. Engine crews are surveying the neighborhoods and providing assistance in strengthening defendable space around dwellings.

Smoke monitoring information is available at: Anyone concerned with the effects of smoke in the region or who has possible health concerns related to smoke can go to this site to see smoke monitoring data and get additional information.

Friday, 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

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