Fire near Brookings sends evacuees to Red Cross shelter; threat grows in Central Oregon

Plume from Black Butte Lodge restaurant. (InciWeb)

GOLD BEACH, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire burning for more than a month has grown dramatically in recent days, forcing evacuations in southwest Oregon.

The Red Cross said Monday it provided shelter to about 50 people who evacuated their homes because of the lightning-caused Chetco Bar Fire scorching the Kalmiopsis Wilderness.

Curry County residents living along Highway 101 north of Brookings were warned to evacuate Sunday afternoon after strong winds pushed the fire to the south and west. Fire officials told the Mail Tribune newspaper they've received reports of some structures being burned.

The fire that was less than acre on July 12 has now charred more than 98,000 acres. That larger than the City of Portland. An estimated 3,000 people have been warned to evacuate.

The Red Cross is staffing an emergency evacuation shelter at Riley Creek Elementary in Gold Beach, 94350 6th St. You can call the shelter at (541) 600-6068.

The evacuation notices do not include the city of Brookings or Gold Beach, and Highway 101 from Brookings to Gold Beach remained open.

More than 400 firefighters are battling the blaze.

Wildfire Season

August is peak wildfire season in the Pacific Northwest, and firefighters are busy throughout Oregon.

In central Oregon, a wildfire that led to the evacuations within the path of totality of Monday's eclipse increased in size to more than 16 square miles.

Officials say 644 firefighters are battling the Milli Fire west of Sisters that is 20 percent contained. For safety reasons, all ground and air efforts stopped for about 45 minutes during the darkest part of the eclipse.

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