The Sisters area is battling its first significant wildfire of the year. Dubbed the Rooster Rock fire, the blaze — which began within the Deschutes National Forest about six miles south of Sisters off Three Creeks road — was first reported Monday morning.
What started as a small wildfire (originally estimated at about 10 acres) quickly grew, thanks to significant northwesterly winds that blew in on Tuesday. As of noon on Wednesday, the fire’s perimeter spanned about 4,200 acres and was estimated to be about 20 percent contained, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.
On Tuesday, residents of the Plainview area were put on evacuation alert and a Red Cross shelter was set up at the Sisters Elementary School. For a while, the fire drifted perilously close to a number of homes in Plainview, but the shifting winds worked in our favor.
Driving home from Sisters to Tumalo Tuesday afternoon about 5 p.m., I couldn’t not stop and survey the daunting sight. Usually, I’m greeted by a gorgeous Cascade Mountain vista as I make the 20-minute trek down Highway 20. Instead, I saw nothing but billowing bursts of thick black smoke that rose from the ground up as far as I could see.
As I approached Plainview Road, I pulled over and drove along Paradise Alley as close to the fire as I dared venture (which is to say, not very far!), then jumped outside to shoot a few quick snapshots of the scene. There I stood frozen in place for several minutes, humbled by the sight of Mother Nature at her fiercest. (Below are several of the photos I shot there, plus a few I took at home Tuesday evening. They don’t begin to do the scene justice.)
Battling the fire are approximately 665 personnel, 20 engines, 20 water tenders and six helicopters, according to the Department of Forestry. Here’s a map of the fire and related road closures.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. To see the current status of the fire, check the Wildfire Interagency incident system’s InciWeb website or call 541-549-7610. Current evacuation information is available from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Fire Information Line at 541-550-4886.
About the Author:
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Redmond and Bend.