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Sunday, August 31, 2014
Light rain and cooler temperatures in the Cascades on Saturday didn’t help put out wildfires near Oakridge, but they helped prevent the fires from spreading.
The Deception Complex fire, a group of five fires west of Oakridge, has grown to 2,196 acres, according to the interagency team fighting the fire.
The fire, which is being fought by more than 900 firefighters, is 55 percent contained, said Candice Lawrence, an interagency spokeswoman.
Residents on LaDuke Road and in the Deception Creek Mobile Home Park along Highway 58 remained under a Level II “get set” advisory Saturday, meaning they need to be ready to leave immediately.
Rain fell in varying amounts in the Willamette Valley on Saturday, but no more than a few hundredths of an inch of precipitation were predicted for the hills around Oakridge, Lawrence said.
Scattered showers were predicted through Saturday night, yet the precipitation wasn’t expected to penetrate the forest canopy and put out the fires burning below, she said.
Yet the cooler temperatures and higher humidity, especially at night, are helping keep the fire from spreading through areas of grass and brush, Lawrence said.
“It helps around the perimeter of a fire,” she said. “It helps suppress the fire when we have rains and high humidity.”
The fire has been burning several weeks, but changing weather conditions on Wednesday led to it doubling in size.
Officials evacuated residents for a brief time Wednesday evening as the fire threatened homes.
Daytime temperatures on Sunday will be in the 70s in the Oakridge area on Sunday, Lawrence said. No rain is forecast for Sunday.
Firefighting officials do not expect the fire to grow much on Sunday, Lawrence said.
Moderately smoky conditions were expected, the interagency team said.
The air-conditioned, smoke-free room at the Willamette Activity Center in Oakridge will open this weekend if requested by people through the fire department, according to Mayor Jerry Shorey.
Parts of the Willamette National Forest remain closed. The Umpqua National Forest has closed an area next to the Deception Creek drainage.