Fire near Oakridge quadruples in size overnight

Fire near Oakridge quadruples in size overnight »Play Video
Photo of trees exploding in flames in the Tumblebug Complex on Sept. 18. Photo by Tony Sleznick

OAKRIDGE, Ore. -- Wicked dry east winds blowing in from the deserts of eastern Oregon blew embers up to a mile away from a 500 acre forest fire in the Cascades, transforming the Tumblebug Complex into a 2,240 acre maze of flames overnight.

The winds out of the east are pushing smoke to the west of the fire, shrouding the skies of southern Willamette Valley communities.

YouNews reporter wpeder shared this photograph of the smokey sky over Creswell this morning.

The winds hit 35 mph Monday, tossing flaming embers up to a mile away, said Tom Berglund with the U.S. Forest Service. Almost everywhere an ember falls, a new fire starts, Berglund said.

The Tumblebug Complex started as a cluster of smaller fires sparked by lightning Sept. 12.

Firefighters knocked out most of the flames, but a few of the fires grew, jumping containment lines and growing over the past week and a half.

More than 600 people are fighting the fire about 24 miles southeast of Oakridge, Ore.

The terrain has complicated firefighting efforts, with steep rocky cliffs making it difficult for ground crews to move about.