THE DALLES, Ore. More residents near the Government Flats Fire Complex near The Dalles have been ordered to leave after the Wasco County Sheriff's Office issued a Level III Evacuation.
The fires had grown to nearly 5,000 acres and destroyed two homes and five other buildings. Fire was moving toward The Dalles water treatment plant and thick smoke covered much of the town Tuesday morning.
About 50 homeowners were asked to leave as the sheriff's office expanded the evacuation area to reach from 9595 Upper Mill Creek Road east to 6522 Mill Creek Road. That followed an evacuation order put into effect at 3 p.m. Monday for residents on Obrist Road, west of Dutch Flat Road. Ninety minutes after that an evacuation order was also issued for Mill Creek Road and Reservoir Road.
An American Red Cross shelter for displaced people at Dry Hollow Elementary School at 1314 E. 19th St. in The Dalles. The Home at Last Humane Society at 200 River Road in The Dalles was also offering to shelter displaced animals, including large farm animals.
Firefighters from 23 agencies were fighting the complex, which was started by lightning Friday and was already burning some structures Sunday evening.
A Level II evacuation order was put in place for 35 homes by the Wasco County Sheriff's Office Sunday evening and revised to 100 homes Monday morning, spokesman Tommy Schroeder told KGW.
A Level II evacuation means residents should prepare for an immediate departure in the event that a full, Level III, evacuation should occur.
On Sunday, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber declared the Government Flat Complex Fire a conflagration.
The complex is made up of three fires. The 700-acre Blackburn Fire is burning within the city of The Dalles watershed, which has steep terrain with limited access to firefighters. The Government Flat Fire and the Wells Fire are lined, and officials said the risk of them spreading is low.
Strong winds Saturday caused the fires to spread across dry grass, and brush.
Eleven 20-person crews headed out to battle the fire early Sunday morning and at least 500 firefighters headed out Monday.