At Least 40 People Injured or Sick From Oregon’s Cedar Creek Wildfire

by Craig Garrett
Oregon forest fire. - stock photo

So far, 40 people have contacted officials with injuries or illnesses they believe are connected to the Cedar Creek wildfire in Oregon. The flames have been burning for nearly two months now, CNN reports. Don Ferguson, a Cedar Creek Fire public information officer emailed CNN about the reports. Ferguson said that so far, none of the injuries are life-threatening.

As of August 1, the fire has consumed 114,104 acres and is only 20% contained. “There have been no structures burned and no fatalities,” Ferguson explained. According to Ferguson, the fire “has grown by only a relatively small percentage” in the last week. “The fire received a little rain, enough to temporarily slow growth and allow work to progress on the indirect containment strategy.”

According to Don Ferguson, officials are gradually restarting resources for firefighting. They are also opening areas that were earlier closed off to the public. The timetable for when those places will be accessible again is still uncertain. According to a Sunday Facebook post from Cedar Creek Fire officials, the fire began near the city of Oakridge. The city is just under an hour’s drive from Eugene. Almost 2,000 personnel are working to contain the flames. They have been using 44 fire engines, 28 hand crews, and 9 helicopters.

The Cedar Creek Wildfire has raged for nearly two months

On August 1, 2022, the Cedar Creek Fire started during a lightning storm. This resulted in 20 to 30 new fires in the Willamette National Forest. The fire is currently being managed by Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3 West Zone (Willamette National Forest) and Northwest Team 7 East Zone (Deschutes National Forest).

For several days, Red Flag Warnings led to uncontrolled fire growth in both directions. Now, firefighters are focused on saving homes in Oakridge, Westfir, and the surrounding communities. Additionally, they are working to protect the cabins and infrastructure of Deschutes National Forest located near Cascade Lakes Highway. However, since cooler temperatures have arrived along with higher relative humidities, fire activity has moderated significantly.

Given the fire’s location, which is in extremely difficult to access terrain, including wilderness and roadless areas, the crew utilized an indirect approach. This entails using roads and pathways as a safe zone where they have a greater chance of successfully extinguishing the blaze.

Evacuation orders are in effect for both Lane and Deschutes Counties. A section of the Willamette National Forest and the Deschutes National Forest is under restriction. Waldo Lake Wilderness and Three Sisters Wilderness are both closed to visitors. The public is not permitted on Waldo Lake or Cultus Lake. A Red Cross shelter has been set up at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, about 50 miles to the northwest.