Pole Creek Fire: Evacuations and amazing sights
Updated On: Sep 10 2012 04:55:08 PM CDT
Looking out toward the Three Sisters Sunday afternoon, from any direction, you couldn't help but notice a huge smoke plume, visible for miles and filling the sky with thick, black smoke.
Anyone who thought wildfire season was over quickly learned otherwise.
"I knew it was a fire -- I knew it was a fire right then and there," said a nearby fisherman.
The Pole Creek Fire started out small, as all do -- but it grew very big, very fast.
A time-lapse video sent to us by one of our viewers, Ben Boro, showed just how fast the fire spread in a thee-hour period.
"I've lived here quite a few years," said one Sisters resident. "And it seems to be one of the most fastest-growing fires that I've ever seen."
The smoke nearly doubled in size in mere minutes, darkened the skies and turned the sun into a hazy orange orb.
The sight of it caused dozens of people to pull off the road and snap pictures, and of course worried some residents living nearby.
"I think it's pretty close," said another Sisters resident. "I think it's pretty scary, always scary when they are that hot."
The fire was so close to recreational visitors to the area that police decided to evacuate and close down the Three Creeks campground area, Highway 242 and Forest Service Roads 15 and 16.
"Essentially to make sure that we don't have any loss of human life, to make sure that people are out of the area and safe," said Deschutes County sheriff's Lt. Paul Garrison.
Safety was the No. 1 priority for officials who have seen the damage massive wildfires can leave behind.
"When it comes to how long it is going to be there, it's really hard to say right now," said Katie Lighthall, public information officer on the Pole Creek Fire. "We got tankers right now dropping retardant and our number one priority is keeping communities safe."
Lighthall says the wind was causing major challenges for fire crews.
"Right now, the big concern is that we have wind gusts up to 25 mph," said Lighthall. "So while we can't track the speed of the fire just yet, we know the winds could be a problem."
And for many people who were watching the flames get closer and closer, they knew more than ever that the wildfire season wasn't over just yet.
"We're due," said a fisherman. "We've been waiting for something like this. It's here."
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