BROOKINGS, Ore. — Firefighters braced Friday for hot, windy weather over the weekend that could worsen a wildfire near the coast at the same time they worked to expand containment on a separate blaze near the tourist town of Sisters.
Authorities issued the lowest-level evacuation warning late Thursday for residents of the 6,500-person town of Brookings in case winds pushed the flames closer to homes.
The fire burning in Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest was about 5 miles from the coastal town near the California border. It has charred 159-square-miles (412 square kilometers).
There is no containment of the fire, although crews have made progress digging out fire lines to stop its spread.
The fire started July 12 from a lightning strike and expanded rapidly last week amid hot and windy conditions similar to the ones expected Friday and Saturday.
About 1,200 firefighters are on scene, said Terry Krasko, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire in southwest Oregon is currently listed as the No. 1 priority in the nation and is burning in the footprint of a notorious 2002 fire that blackened 800 square miles (2,072 square kilometers).
“We do expect it to get warmer and drier, and when it gets drier that makes us work a little bit harder,” Krasko said in a telephone interview.
Gov. Kate Brown visited the area Friday afternoon and spoke with firefighters at a local high school.
“While the weather has cooperated with firefighters today, the residents of Brookings must stay vigilant,” Brown said in a news release. “The Level 1 Evacuation Order means the people of Brookings need be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Conditions can change extremely quickly. Thanks to all of the firefighters, first responders, police officers, and everyone doing everything they can to keep the town of Brookings and the surrounding areas safe.”
In central Oregon, a 21-square-mile (54 square kilometers) fire is 32 percent contained near Sisters.
The blaze is in the Three Sisters Wilderness Area about 9 miles west of the city. There were no mandatory evacuations, but several warnings were in place.
August is peak wildfire season in Oregon. There are currently more than two dozen fires burning around the state.