The Cedar Creek Fire that began some five weeks ago near Waldo Lake has burned onto the Deschutes National Forest and is forcing evacuations.
Level 3 “Go Now” notices were issued for Cultus Lake Tuesday night. The evacuation area was expanded to include Crane Prairie Reservoir and a 30-mile stretch of the Cascade Lakes Highway.
Boat owners who rent moorage at Cultus Lake Resort were informed late Tuesday night to remove their boats. Wednesday morning, we watched several people leave the area while fire crews rushed in to protect Cultus Lake Resort.
“It looks like, from what we heard from the Forest Service, it burned Irish-Taylor last night and is burning its way down to Little Cultus,” said Pete Robertson, Bend. “From what they said, all they can do is try to protect Cultus Lake Lodge.”
Wednesday afternoon, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office issued a “Go Now” evacuation notice for all campgrounds around Crane Prairie Reservoir, the northwest side of Wickiup reservoir and areas south of the 6 Lakes Trails and Little Lava Lake.
The Cascade Lakes Highway is closed from Deschutes Bridge all the way south to the Klamath County line.
There were no evacuation notices in place when I visited Crane Prairie Reservoir Wednesday morning but resort staff were taking precautions by starting up their 40 year old fire truck.
“Getting our game plan of what we need. Getting our fire truck ready. Filling it with water,” said Zach Burns, Crane Prairie Resort. “Making sure we have a steady ear to the ground so we know what to do if things go south so that we can inform everybody on what’s going on and get people out of here and get our boats and everything out.
Level 2 “Be Set” evacuation notices are now in effect for Lucky Butte, Williamson Mountain, Winopee, Snowshoes, Senoj, Big Finger, Upper Snowshoes, Long, Puppy, Leech, Goldeney and Lucky Lakes.
Areas around the Lava Lakes are on Level 1 “Get Ready” notice.
“It’s going to be heartbreaking to go back there and see it’s all black,” Robertson said.