Hot, dry weather Sunday on the southern Oregon coast made it difficult for fire crews to stop the spread of the Chetco Bar Fire. Fire crews were refocused to keep it from creeping closer to coastal communities.
Residents of the coastal town of Brookings have been dealing with smoke and evacuation warnings for weeks now. Hundreds of them gathered Sunday evening at Brookings-Harbor High School to learn the latest on the fire burning just a few miles from town.
A curious and appreciative crowd of hundreds filled the auditorium. Several people asked about evacuations and how fire crews decided how to protect private property.
Nick Courtnage brought his 2-year-old daughter along to figure out what to expect going forward.
“The main thing for my family is smoke inhalation," he said. "And it’s just going to be a long haul of smoke coming in and then leaving, coming in and leaving, just here on the coastal winds.”
On Sunday evening the Curry County Sheriff's Office ordered more residents to evacuate because of the fire's threat. That expansion of a Level 3 evacuation area included areas along Carpenterville Road, which lie north of Bosley Butte Road along Summit Ridge and north to Sundown Mountain. Displaced residents were offered emergency shelter Riley Creek Elementary in Gold Beach
The Chetco Bar Fire, which has burned nearly 110,000 acres, is the number one priority wildfire nationwide.
Officials plan to schedule a meeting in early September to address concerns that early firefighting efforts weren’t aggressive enough to stop the lightning-caused fire from spreading.