BEND, OR -- A number of local wildfires are contributing to Central Oregon's poor air quality, although larger fires elsewhere in the region are primarily to blame for continued smoke and haze.
The McKay Fire (pictured above), first reported Tuesday afternoon near McKay Butte northeast of La Pine, remains just over 1,200 acres and is now 50% contained. Containment lines held yesterday, allowing crews to mop up along the perimeter.
Growth of the Nash Fire, in the Three Sisters Wilderness, prompted Level 2 pre-evacuation orders for Elk Lake Resort and surrounding campgrounds. Level 1 notices were issued for Lava Lake Resort, as well. The Nash Fire is part of the Horse Creek Complex of five fires, which have burned over 8,300 acres.
Near Sisters, the Milli Fire grew to 22,190, as of Thursday morning. It's now 44% contained.
Crews battling the Chetco Bar Fire on the Southern Oregon Coast are worried the fire will continue to grow, as another week of hot weather approaches. It's burned more than 128,000 acres and it's generating so much smoke that aircraft dumping fire retardant have been limited in making runs. Carol Connelly, at the Northwest Coordination Center, says they're working to strengthen lines to protect homes. "The fire’s progress toward the southwest corner of the fire line is growing daily and they are strengthening those fire lines that are between the fire and the community of Brookings."
Connelly says, "Our firefighting resources are at critically low supply. We do have over 9,500 firefighters and support personnel in the region." There are currently more than a dozen large fires or fire complexes burning in Oregon.