Evacuations increase, more fires expected to combine
More residents in the Elk Creek and Lost Creek Lake areas were told to evacuate Tuesday as the Miles Fire continued to grow.
Two homes that were near the intersection of Elk Creek Road and West Branch Elk Creek Road were given the level 3 “go” notice.
The level 2 “be set” zone was also expanded, and now extends from the Elk Creek drainage zone south to Highway 62, also known as Crater Lake Highway, and along the west side of Lost Creek Lake.
Last week, the Sugar Pine Fire and South Umpqua Complex Fire joined and are now being managed collectively as the Miles Fire, which includes the Columbus, Snowshoe and Round Top fires.
Cheyne Rossbach, a public information officer with the fire, said the Columbus Fire is expected to combine with the Miles Fire, expanding it by at least another 9,000 acres.
On Wednesday, an inversion over the fires is expected to lift, increasing the potential for fire activity.
“When you get that fresh air in and the inversion lifts and that clear air comes in, your fire activity increases and you also have the potential for more winds,” Rossbach said.
The fire behavior increases when smoke lifts because there’s more air to fan the flames.
But the clear skies will allow air resources to start operating again.
The group of fires has reached a combined 40,288 acres. The Miles Fire has no containment, according to Rossbach.
A community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Tiller Rural Fire Protection District.