Burned trees crest the ridge north of Highway 22 outside of Mill City on Sunday, September 20. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Fire crews have reported progress on containing the Beachie Creek Fire’s western edge and more areas have had evacuation orders lifted.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office reopened a portion of North Fork Road on Monday as well as other side roads.
North Fork Road, which leads to Elkhorn, is now open up to milepost 1, said county spokeswoman Jolene Kelley.
But she said that beyond that the road is closed because of the danger of trees damaged by the fires that could collapse on roadways.
Southeast Pioneer Road to Highway 22, including Southeast Hudel Road and Taylor Park Road, is also now open.
As of Tuesday, 1,118 structures remain under evacuation orders because of the fire and another 4,574 are under orders to be prepared to evacuate. Details on evacuation orders can be found on a map on the county’s website that includes a feature allowing residents to search the status of specific addresses.
Firefighters used the favorable weather on Monday and Tuesday to advance efforts to contain the fire’s western edge, according to the most recent update. Currently, the fire has covered 192,775 acres and is 38% contained.
East of Silver Falls State Park, crews are bringing in heavy equipment to contain the fire. Wet and windy weather is expected to move in on Wednesday that could bring an inch of rain for the fire area. The weather could bring gusts reaching 40 mph that could blow over damaged trees. The rains also bring the potential of landslides.
Although fire crews are making progress containing the fire, state parks in the area remain closed.
According to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Detroit Lake State Recreation Area and the Mongold day-use area on the lake saw only minor damage from the fire and remain closed.
Silver Falls State Park saw 125 acres burned on the southeastern portion of the park. The North Santiam State Recreation Area, just west of Mill City, saw 120 acres burned with some structures destroyed.
Emergency crews have been working to help people retrieve boats abandoned as they fled the blaze, a task finished on Monday as boats were cleared from docks at Kane’s Marina and Detroit Lake Marina in Detroit.
The incident command reported 788 people at work on the fire, including a task force from Canada. The fire, which started Aug. 16, is forecast to be fully contained by the end of October.
Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.
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