This story was updated at 3:38 p.m. on July 26, 2019.
CANYONVILLE, Ore. – A wildfire burning along Interstate 5 south of Canyonville has grown an estimated 6,000 acres in size, firefighters said.
The Douglas Forest Protective Association said the Milepost 97 Fire was first reported at about 10:00 p.m. on July 24 along Interstate 5 near Canyonville. It has since grown to an estimated 6,000 acres in an area where firefighters are dealing with falling trees, rolling rocks, and wind.
At 3:19 p.m. on July 25, the sheriff’s office released the following warning: “In conjunction with the Douglas Forest Protective Association the Sheriff’s Office has issued a Level 1 ‘Be Ready’ evacuation notice for the MP 97 Fire outside of Canyonville for residents living in the 100-300 block of Ritchie Road.”
Deputies explained the Level 1 evacuation warning means affected residents should be ready to evacuate, have a “go kit” ready, have an evacuation plan, be fire-aware, and create a defensible space around any vulnerable structures.
Later on in the day, a Level 3 “GO!” evacuation order was issued for three homes located near the southern end of the fire.
While the fire can be seen from surrounding communities, there is no immediate danger to any populated areas like Canyonville, Riddle, and Azalea as the fire’s growth has been mainly to the south and southwest.
Smoke from the fire has crept as far south as Ashland. A shift in winds is forecast for Monday, which may help push some of the smoke out of the area.
According to the results of a preliminary investigation, the fire was believed to be related to an illegal campfire.
The fire remains highly visible from I-5. Drivers are encouraged to slow down and turn on headlights when traveling through the area. Drivers are also being told to not pull over on the interstate and refrain from using cell phones to take pictures or videos while driving.