new, nearly 1,000-acre wildfire fanned by winds near Summer Lake in
south-central Oregon surged after sunset Saturday night, burning
structures and prompting evacuations and a renewed closure of state
Highway 31, ODOT officials said.
traffic update around 10:30 p.m. indicated a seven-mile stretch of
the highway was closed, between mileposts 64 and 71, and evacuations
were underway due to the Ana Fire.
structures lost to wildfire," the alert stated. "Do not
travel this stretch of highway until wildfire either controlled or
moves on, No detour."
an 11 p.m. update to the
region’s fire management blog,
officials said one outbuilding had been reported lost as the
fast-moving Ana Fire burned in steep, rocky terrain, driven by gusty
downslope winds. About 150 firefighters were working to protect
structures and limit the fire's southward spread along Highway 31,
and more crews were being called up.
on the highway between Summer Lake and Paisley were warned of smoke
reducing visibility, as well as intermittent road closures and
emergency vehicles in the area.
on KTVZ's Facebook page about the earlier reopening of the highway,
using pilot cars, Kira Thomas said, "I highly recommend NOT
GOING. Turn around and leave."
let us through, and we got pinned and the fire jumped the next 20
yards in front of us, with strong, strong winds fueling it," she
wrote. "And within a few seconds, the fire was burning hard and
fast toward us, along with burning on both sides of the road."
got turned around, and headed the opposite way, but trucks and
trailers are stuck there,” Thomas added. “Prayers to everyone
fighting the fire and the wind."
Ana Fire was reported to Lakeview Interagency Dispatch around 3 p.m.
and was burning in sagebrush and juniper on unprotected private land,
the Summer Lake Wildlife Area refuge, BLM and Forest Service land,
said Sarah Saarloos, interagency fire information officer with the
South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership.
cause of the fire was under investigation, but Saarloos said.it
likely was human-caused, with no recent lightning reported in the
fairly remote area of northwest Lake County in south-central Oregon.
fire broke out near the top of Winter Rim, a ridge and landmark in
the area, and put up a tall smoke column visible from the Paisley and
Valley Falls area, Saarloos said. But some cooling as the sun set
slowed its advance and caused the smoke to start settling into the
valley as crews worked to protect eight threatened structures..
progress also prompted reopening of Highway 31 around sunset, with a
pilot car guiding traffic in a five-mile stretch, between mileposts
64 and 69, until conditions worsened again.
large air tankers were dropping retardant on the blaze, with several
engine crews called in from the Forest Service, Oregon Department of
Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and Oregon Department of Fish and
Wildlife, she said.
hitting it with everything we have in the area" Saarloos said,
since no other significant fires were burning in the region.