More smoke was thick Sunday from the Milli Fire burning near Sisters, as firefighters continued intentional burns to strengthen fire lines.
The fire, which started Aug. 11, had grown to 9,331 acres by 8 p.m. Sunday, up from 7,000 acres on Friday, according to a release from the Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center.
Smoke was so thick in Sisters on Sunday morning that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Deschutes County Public Health department issued an air quality warning advising people around Sisters to take health precautions from hazardous levels of smoke. People sensitive to smoke, including children, the elderly and those with asthma, should remain indoors with windows and doors closed if possible, according to the DEQ. In hot weather, people without an air conditioner should seek shelter elsewhere where air quality is better.
The Milli Fire was 20 percent contained Sunday evening, with about 500 personnel fighting the fire. Hundreds of residents were ordered to evacuate in the Crossroads, Edington/Remuda and Wildwing subdivisions, Peterson Burn Road area and along both sides of Three Creeks Lake Road about one mile south of Sisters from the junction of the Brooks-Scanlon logging road. The Tollgate subdivision is still being warned of a possible evacuation.
The control line on the north side of the fire, from Forest Road 1018 to Whychus Creek, is holding as is the southern flank along Forest Road 15, according to fire officials. On the southeast side of the fire, crews are securing a fire line in the Whychus Creek area and building a dozer line west to Black Crater area.
Several helicopters and air tankers were providing air support for the blaze.
While the lightning-caused Milli Fire is the highest priority in the region, crews were also fighting the Belknap Fire, which is 75 percent contained. That fire is burning 20 miles northeast of Prineville in the Mill Creek Wilderness. It was also sparked from lightning on Aug. 11.