PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A fire threatening homes in south-central Oregon expanded to 18 square miles on Friday, and hot, dry weather is in the forecast.
The Barry Point fire, started this week by lightning, is burning timber, brush and grass about 20 miles southwest of Lakeview.
The flames jumped a containment line late Thursday and headed toward the western edge of Drews Reservoir, prompting an evacuation notice for about 15 homes.
"It made a really big run," said Renee Snyder, spokeswoman for the fire management team. "Even down here in town, in Lakeview, it was pretty impressive."
Deputies with the Lake County Sheriff's Office told residents to evacuate, but it's unclear how many followed the recommendation.
The Level 3 evacuation notice alerts people that "current conditions present specific and immediate threat to life and safety."
No structures had been damaged as of Friday. A Forest Service campground was closed Wednesday and a fire lookout tower barely escaped destruction.
Firefighters have had some success, but the northeast and southeast flanks remain problematic, Snyder said.
There has been no significant rainfall for weeks, and the weather forecast in the coming days includes temperatures in the 90s, humidity in the single digits and gusty winds — less-than-ideal conditions for fighting fires.
"Heavy fuels, extreme fire behavior, fire weather, inaccessibility — you add all that up and it just makes for a difficult fire-suppression job for these guys," Snyder said.
The number of personnel assigned to the fire is 830, with two single-engine air tankers and three large air tankers helping the cause. The fire was 25 percent contained.
Lightning last weekend set off dozens fires in Oregon, most of them relatively small.
The largest fire burning in the state is the Holloway fire, which ignited in Nevada on Sunday and spread across the state line. Fire officials expect the blaze to continue spreading north, fueled by the hot, dry weather.
The fire has scorched 152,000 acres — 238 square miles — of brush and sagebrush in the two states. No homes were threatened Friday.
Jack DeGolia, the Holloway fire spokesman, said the blaze has been very active and officials believe one part of the fire, in southeast Oregon, could spread five miles on Friday. The blaze has also been sending off embers, creating spot fires in the dry vegetation.
"We get afternoon winds and then it really takes off," DeGolia said from northern Nevada. "Last night you could see a red glow over parts of the mountain range and there was a big column coming up that reminded me of the smoke that comes out of an old-time steam train. But it was huge."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.