Most evacuees can return as Chehalem Mountain Fire 75% contained
Progress continues in suppressing the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire north of Newberg on Saturday, Sept. 12, and the Level 3 evacuation area has shrunk considerably.
The Level 3, "Go Now," area once extended south nearly to Newberg and north to Southwest Vanderschuere Road in the Scholls/Midway area. Now it covers a much smaller area in between Mountain Top and Bald Peak roads and extending north toward Southwest Shine Drive.
The entirety of the Level 3 evacuation area now falls within Yamhill County, although the fire started just across the county line in Washington County on Tuesday evening, Sept. 8.
"Due to the change in the evacuation levels, most residents will be allowed to return home," Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said in an update sent out at 3 p.m. Saturday. "Residents should be aware that firefighters will be working on hot spots throughout the area, and anyone living inside of the Level 2 area needs to remain 'set' to go at a moment's notice."
Portland General Electric shut off power to some roads in the vicinity of the fire to reduce the risk of electrical infrastructure causing new fires or impeding firefighting efforts.
Power has not been fully restored. TVF&R said that with much of the Level 3 area now downgraded to Level 2, PGE crews will be able to come in and begin switching the power back on.
The fire topped out at about 875 acres, TVF&R estimates, and is now 75% contained.
Residents whose homes are within the Level 3 evacuation area are still not able to return home, as firefighting operations are ongoing.
TVF&R said crews will be focusing on hot spots within the shrunken Level 3 area.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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