Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot

General fire info:

For more information, the public can call 541-247-3680, 541-414-4489, 541-316-5816.

An immediate evacuation order (Level 3) was issued at 5 p.m. today (Aug. 20) for residents living along Highway 101 and east to Carpenterville Road starting just north of Brookings to the Pistol River area, after the northern end of the Chetco Bar Fire made a westward run toward the coast.

Residents who live along Carpenterville Road, as well as those who live to the east and west of the road, are urged to pack up their belong and leave immediately, said Curry County Sheriff John Ward.

The danger isn’t as immediate for those living along Highway 101, but they are still encouraged to evacauate now, Ward said.

“We're letting people know now so they don’t have to get moving in the middle of the night,” he said.

Authorities and volunteers this evening were going door-do-door notifying Carpenterville Road residents about the evacuation. They will next direct their attention to those living along Highway 101.

The evacuation order does not include the city of Brookings or Gold Beach, and Highway 101 from Brookings to Gold Beach remains open.

However, officials encouraged residents in Brookings south of the intersection of Carpenterville Road and Highway 101 to be ready to plan ahead and leave at a moment’s notice.

Meanwhile, the southern end of the uncontained fire continues to move down the Chetco River drainage, but slower than anticipated, said Chris Barth, fire information officer.

As of 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the fire is thought to have reached the Miller Bar, about two or three miles above Loeb State Park and 12 miles from the city of Brookings, which is not under evacuation.

An immediate evacuation order remains in place for residents living in the area encompassing North Bank Chetco River Road from Da-tone Rock (Joe Hall Creek) to Wilderness Retreat, and South Bank Chetco River Road from Shady to Mt. Emily Road. There are an estimated 1,500 homes in that area.

By 3 p.m. this afternoon the ceiling of thick smoke over Brookings and Harbor had turned the day into premature twilight. The street lights along Chetco Avenue came on as ash continued to fall in many places.

The lid of heavy smoke is still preventing any aircraft from attacking the fire, Barth said. All efforts are focused on evacuating people and using fire crews to clear fire breaks and take other measures to protect any property threatened by the fire.

“We don’t really want to put firefighters in harm’s way unless it’s absolutely necessary,” Barth said.

Barth and other fire officials declined to project what the fire might do next, saying there were too many factors — particular wind, low humidity and dry fuel — to consider.