Bulletin staff report

Households along U.S. Highway 26 northeast of Prineville are being warned they may need to evacuate due to the 2,000-acre Desolation Fire.

Strong winds Tuesday pushed the fire south out of the Mill Creek Wilderness in the Ochoco National Forest toward about 27 households along the highway, according to U.S. Forest Service officials.

The residents are under a Level 2 evacuation notice, which advises them to stay alert and be prepared to leave on a moment’s notice.

A community meeting is scheduled at 5 p.m. Thursday in the Eastside Church in Prineville for officials to share information about the fire.

The lightning-caused fire was first reported Saturday about 20 miles northeast of Prineville.

Firefighters worked Tuesday night establishing several miles of contaminant lines between U.S. Highway 26 and the fire, according to Forest Service officials. Crews continued to work Wednesday strengthening and expanding the containment lines on the south, east and north sides of the Mill Creek Wilderness.

More strong wind gusts Wednesday afternoon are causing smoky conditions in the area.

Oregon Department of Transportation crews are on U.S. Highway 26 to keep traffic moving safely.

The Forest Service expanded closures Wednesday that include all of Mill Creek Wilderness and Forest Service land north of the wilderness up to Forest Road 2745.

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