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Fire prompts evacuations, airport closure in central Oregon

June 30, 2021 GMT

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) — A fire has ignited in the central Oregon city of Redmond, prompting evacuations and closing Redmond Airport and a highway.

The fire was reported Tuesday afternoon near the Redmond Air Center and was estimated at 200 acres by 4 p.m., The Bulletin reported. However, later in the evening that estimate decreased to between 50 and 100 acres, according to fire officials.

Redmond Airport director Zach Bass said the airport closed to air travel Tuesday afternoon and one operations building on airport property was evacuated. Bass says flights were diverted, delayed or canceled.

Firefighters had earlier contained a smaller brush fire nearby. State Highway 126 was also closed. Redmond’s Fire Chief Ken Kehmna said nearby homeless encampments have been evacuated. The causes of both fires are under investigation.

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Approximately 325 residential and commercial structures were contacted to be evacuated, Kehmna said. No injuries or deaths have been reported. No major property damage has been reported, though the personal property of the homeless campers could be impacted, he said.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office’s issued evacuation notices in the area. The Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center was a designated evacuation shelter site, said center director Geoff Hinds.

Another fire south of The Dalles near Dufur was prompting evacuations Tuesday afternoon and evening. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office said on Facebook that people were being urged to evacuate east of Highway 197.

A shelter was being set up at The Dalles Middle School gym, the sheriff’s office said.