Sterling Creek Fire spreads rapidly, evacuations in order

(KTVL/Mike Marut)

[Update 7/16 12:39 p.m.]

Jackson County Sheriff's Office reduced evacuations for the Sterling Creek Fire to Level One, "Be Ready," Monday morning.

Some residents near the fire felt the need to evacuate for a Level Three 'Go' warning, while others did not. The Level Three warning was broadcast to residents Sunday night.

"We had just finished dinner when we got the phone call," Steve Ives, a resident of two years in the Applegate Valley, said.

Steve Ives lives along Sterling Creek Road and was told to evacuate Sunday Night.

"It was sort of panic," Ives said. "My wife had put together a go bag and had a list she wanted to go through."

For the two years Ives has lived in his house, he has seen two very significant fire seasons: last year the Miller Complex fires grew on one side of the Applegate Valley and this year the Sterling Creek Fire was down the street.

"Last year was mostly smoke we had an issue with," Ives said. "To go from nothing last year to all of a sudden, 'hey you need to get out this year' was a jarring experience."

Ives returned to his home before the evacuations were reduced for his chickens. Other residents decided not to leave at all because they felt the fire was not a huge threat to their homes. Ives preferred being safe than sorry.

"We could've waited the night out, but the cats get a little inky and it was a lot better to round them up when we could and go," Ives noted.

Oregon Department of Forestry jumped on the fire fast and kept it from growing between Sunday night and Monday morning.

"We fight fire during the day, we catch them at night," Melissa Cano, ODF's spokesperson, said. "That's because when we have that very low fire activity overnight, it gives us that upper hand to get around the fire."

[Update 7/16 11:16 a.m]

Jackson County Sheriff's Office says evacuation orders have been reduced to a Level 1 "Be Ready."

[Original Story]

A fire burning 7 miles south of Jacksonville near Sterling Creek Road named the Sterling Creek fire is approximately 100 acres, according to Oregon Department of Forestry.

ODF says structures are threatened and a citizen alert page for a Level 3 "Go!" evacuation was just sent out for the area.

Residents of Sterling Creek Road near Schlesinger Reservoir, east of Buncom, should evacuate immediately.

The fire, burning 7 miles south of Jacksonville near Sterling Creek Road, is spreading rapidly through private and BLM land.

The fire suppression operation is being conducted by ODF Southwest, Applegate Valley Fire District, and several local contract crews.

Multiple engines, dozers, air tankers, and helicopters are fighting this challenging fire.

ODF asks for travelers to keep roads as clear as possible as additional resources continue to make their way into the fire.

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