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Critical, potentially extreme fire weather ahead for Chetco Bar Fire

Chetco Bat Fire information from Incident Command

BROOKINGS, Ore. -- Gusty, offshore winds will continue into Thursday night and Friday morning while relative humidity falls to very low levels in the Chetco Bar Fire area. This will be followed by a prolonged hot and dry spell with poor relative humidity recovery.

"The weekend weather forecast indicates critical fire weather and the potential for extreme fire behavior," Chetco Bar Fire officials said. "Significant perimeter growth and smoke column development are possible. Winds have the potential to carry embers seven tenths of a mile."

Oregon State Fire Marshal task forces continue assessing structures in the Winchuck and Pistol River areas of the Chetco Bar Fire, preparing them for the possibility of fire being pushed into the area by the coming winds.

South of the fire, crews will work on constructing alternate lines and tying in the section where fire crossed Emily Creek. On the northwest perimeter, crews will bring line north to steer fire north and east. A contingent of firefighters will work from a remote camp near Agness, reducing travel time. On the eastern flank, firefighters are looking for opportunities to use a fire line previously constructed during the 2002 Biscuit Fire while assessing structures along the Illinois River just east of the Wilderness.

On Wednesday, several areas of the fire were active on the north, south and east perimeter. The fire pushed eastward toward the Kalmiopsis Wilderness boundary into brushy vegetation north of Pearsoll Peak, in a portion of the area previously burned during the 2002 Biscuit Fire.

Favorable visibility provided opportunities for aerial support as firefighters completed significant work along the northwest and south flanks of the fire. Crews connected old dozer lines and strengthened fire lines directly along the perimeter of the west flank.

Evacuations are in place in Curry County. They are being continually evaluated and adjusted to reflect developing conditions and resource availability.

Red Cross is moving its evacuation shelter in Gold Beach to the Curry County Fairgrounds showcase building at 29392 Ellensburg Avenue. Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation is also operating a shelter at The Xaa-wan'-k'wvt Village & Resort (old Ship Ashore) RV Park located at 12370 Highway 101 North in Smith River.

Residents are encouraged to monitor the interactive evacuation map for changes: http://arcg.is/2vWQN2N

Several large wildfires are burning in southwest Oregon. Area closures have been implemented on the Rogue River -- Siskyou National Forest and BLM lands. Fire restrictions are in place: http://bit.ly/2erUN5B.

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