Douglas Complex evacuates homes near Glendale

Douglas Complex evacuates homes near Glendale »Play Video
Photo of smoke on the horizon seen Saturday in Glendale, Ore. - Photo by Dave Rayann Wytcherley Woodley

GLENDALE, Ore. -- Homes to the west of Glendale were evacuated Saturday as fires in the Douglas Complex continue to grow.

To the north, officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry ordered an evacuation for homes west of McCullough Creek Road at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. That evacuation stretched to Reuben Road.

Douglas County Sheriff's deputies are asking people living east of McCullough Creek Rd. to the mill west of Glendale to prepare for a possible evacuation.

Later that evening Governor Kitzhaber declared the branch of the Douglas Complex fires burning near Glendale a conflagration. The declaration authorized the state fire marshal to mobilize structural firefighters and equipment to help crews already battling the fire with protecting structures. 

Officials say a total of 45 homes were evacuated, and 300 more are threatened by the fires near Glendale. Residents that have been evacuated can contact the Red Cross Shelter at Glendale Elementary School.

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The Douglas Complex is made up of around 54 fires that were started by a lightning storm early Friday morning.

Fire officials estimate that the fires have burned nearly 7,500 acres of forest. Officials estimate that the fires are about 2 percent contained as of Sunday afternoon.

The Oregon State Fire Marshall said firefighters will be facing gusty winds and low humidity through Sunday, however temperatures should be nearly 10 degrees cooler. Current weather forecast

The Douglas Complex was divided into three branches – the Milo, on the east side of Interstate 5; Rabbit Mountain/Union Creek, on the west side of Interstate 5 (northwest of Glendale); and Dad’s Creek/Panther Butte, west of Glendale.

Below is the Fire Marshall's latest updates on each branch:

Milo
Milo Branch is a group of smaller fires burning less than 20 acres in size.  Each has been lined and firefighters will start mopping up hot areas of each fire.  Minimal fire activity is expected today for this branch.

Rabbit Mountain/Union Creek
This branch is expected to burn actively again today.  The two main fires have grown together and have crossed Cow Creek Road on the south end.  Firefighters will work towards building fire line on the east and north sides of the fire today.

Dad’s Creek/Panther Butte
This branch burned to the south on Saturday, crossing the District boundary between Douglas Forest Protective Association and Oregon Department of Forestry's Southwest Oregon District.  The activity on this branch called for evacuations of homes along McCullough Creek Road.  The fire grew approximately 3,000 acres Saturday afternoon.  Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office has invoked the Conflagration Act and structural firefighting resources have been brought in from across Oregon to assist in protecting homes in this area.

Fire agencies across Lane County are sending crews to help fight the fires near Glendale. The Lane County Task Force came together at 9 p.m. Saturday night at the Goshen Fire Station. The Lane Fire Authority leader will be joined by a fire engines from Dexter, Coburg and Mohawk Valley Fire, as well as two tender trucks from Lane and McKenzie Fire & Rescue.

ODF assumed command of the Douglas Complex on Saturday morning. 

Later in the day the Douglas Forest Protective Association upgraded the fire danger to "extreme"  as the dry fuels could make for more fires.

“Everyone needs to be careful when working or recreating in wildland areas” says DFPA Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed.  “The current conditions around Douglas County are prime for rapid fire growth.”