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Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue is responding to the blaze in rugged terrain in the Chehalem Mountains.

COURTESY PHOTO: TUALATIN VALLEY FIRE & RESCUE - Firefighters respond to a wildfire in the Midway area west of Sherwood on Tuesday evening, Sept. 8.Residents of a rural area in the Chehalem Mountains west of Sherwood have been ordered to evacuate due to a brush fire Tuesday evening, Sept. 8.

The fire prompted a six-alarm response Tuesday night, Sept. 8, according to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

By 7:20 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff's Office was ordering residents along Southwest Weaver Drive, Southwest Wildfire Drive, Northeast Brooks Lane, Northeast Jaquith Lane, Northeast Ellis Lane, Northeast Mountain Top Road, Northeast Bald Peak Road and Northeast McCormick Hill Road to evacuate.

That evacuation order expanded at about midnight Wednesday, Sept. 9, to cover Southwest Hillsboro Highway — also signed as Highway 219 — and Neugebauer Road between Jaquith and Vanderschuere roads, Southwest Buckhaven and McCormick Hill roads north to Vanderscheure Road, as well as adjoining streets.

"This is a major, major wildfire," said Public Affairs Chief Cassandra Ulven just before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The staging area for evacuated residents is Mountainside High School.

Evacuees were previously asked to go to Groner K-8 School. Cars, trucks and even motorhomes pulled into the small parking lot, a steady flow by late evening.

"It's very scary," said Barbara Ryan, who evacuated her 5-acre property off Neugebauer Road with her husband, John, in their RV.

The Ryans said they left before the evacuation order was given — the fire was "too close for comfort."

They have owned their property since 1968 and had never before been evacuated, they said.

Firefighters are prioritizing saving residences, Ulven said, and sheriff's deputies in Washington and Yamhill counties have been working to notify and evacuate residents in the affected area.

Sgt. Danny DiPietro, spokesperson for the Washington County Sheriff's Office, said at about 9:45 p.m. that deputies have been going door to door to evacuate residents. He wasn't sure how many homes have been evacuated, but he indicated it was likely well over 100 even prior to the evacuation orders north of Jaquith Road later overnight.

Conditions on the ridge were still gusty more than 24 hours after high winds arrived in the area Monday afternoon, Sept. 7.

"The winds that we've been having the past couple of days, they're still whipping around out there," DiPietro said.

Those winds are working to shape the direction the fire is spreading.

"It's definitely (been) moving south," DiPietro said, though firefighters have been working to try to push it back.

Firefighting efforts are complicated by steep topography, including canyons, according to TVF&R.

Editor's note: This story has been updated at 12:25 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, with more information on the fire, evacuations and additional quotes. A previous version of this story misspelled the name of the K-8 school originally used for evacuation staging; it is Groner K-8 School.

By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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