Canyonville residents prepare to flee from MP 97 fire

CANYONVILLE, Ore – Southern Oregon’s first major wildfire this season has now grown to 6,000 acres. Friday the Oregon Department of Forestry team was brought in to take over the swiftly moving fire.

It sparked along I-5 in Canyonville Wednesday night. Firefighters say it’s burning in very steep, rocky terrain with limited access into and around the fire.

Douglas Forest Protective Association investigators believe it may have started from an illegal campfire.

“We need to keep really on our toes,” Donna Oltman, resident, said.

While only one neighborhood has been issued an evacuation notice, residents nearby are preparing to flee, just in case. Oltman says she already packed her car.

“Our house insurance, birth certificates, you know that sort of thing. A couple of quilts just cause I love them and didn’t want to lose them,” Oltman said.

Oltman says she and her husband have a plan. If a level one notice comes, they’ll load suitcases. But if they get a level 2 evacuation warning, they’re gone.

“Second notice, we are out of here. We aren’t waiting for the third one. We can always come back,” Oltman said.

Crews are attacking the flames in Douglas County with seven helicopters, four air tankers, and firefighters on the ground, but they’re still requesting more assistance.

With the fire growing, the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 has been brought in to take command.

“God bless those men. I’m not kidding you, that, they are really out there for us and I appreciate them so much,” Oltman said.

Firefighters say with flames burning in an old fire scar, the dead trees are perfect fuel in the dry, hot conditions. That’s not what Canyonville residents want to hear. But they’re no strangers to fire season. They’re prepared for anything that comes their way.

“I don’t know about anyone else, but I was praying,” Oltman said.

Firefighters are asking you to be cautious when driving along I-5. Residents will be notified of any evacuations by emergency personnel by phone.

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