Brookings under Level 1 evacuation as Chetco Bar wildfire burns just miles away

Chetco Bar Fire on Aug. 16, 2017. (Photo: Inciweb)

A Level One evacuation order is now in effect for the city of Brookings and unincorporated areas not already under an evacuation notice.

It means residents should be on alert about the danger of a nearby wildfire.

Crews are building fire lines between the nearly 160-square-mile Chetco Bar Wildfire and some nearby homes as the forecast calls for warmer weather and wind gusts into the weekend.

Forestry officials said Thursday that the Chetco Bar fire is burning 102,333 acres of steep, rugged terrain about 5 miles north of the coastal town of Brookings.

Several homes were evacuated and others are on a Level 2 - “get set” evacuation as the fire continues to burn uncontained. Officials have mapped out the evacuation area, and will warn people of evacuations with emergency alert phone calls.

“The locally-known ‘Chetco Wind’ is expected over the fire area beginning [Thursday night], creating gusty Northeast winds and causing a drop in relative humidity and much warmer temperatures through Saturday,” the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office said.

To prepare for the wind, firefighters are building lines on the southwest flank of the fire while also improving defensible space around structures.

“This unified team recognizes that every home and acre across the landscape has value to the community. The team is working to protect these values,” the state fire marshal said.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Riley Elementary School in Gold Beach to give meals, housing, and supplies to families who were evacuated by the fire.

Smoke from the fire will likely hang around the region, creating haze over Gold Beach and Brookings Harbor. You can check the local air quality reports online.

Weather and fire conditions permitting, Gov. Kate Brown is planning to visit the incident command center Friday afternoon to meet with firefighting officials.

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