NEAR ASHLAND, Ore. – Not-so-distant wisps of smoke emerge from the treetops at the Greensprings Inn. A motley group of firefighters, residents, and curious passers-by gather just outside at an information board, pouring over maps and community notices.
Just hundreds of yards away — homeowners prep their vehicles, fill water tanks, and get ready for the worst.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in ten years,” said resident Stephen Bender. “And talking to other residents, nobody else has either.”
The level one evacuation notice is a just-in-case warning for residents to be prepared in light of the Oregon Gulch Fire nearby.
It comes amidst a resource shift for firefighting crews, as they start caravanning people and equipment to their newest staging ground.
The newly-formed fire camp near Howard Prairie, started just Saturday morning, is in response to a rapidly changing two front battle. In the next 48 hours, around 500 firefighters will arrive from the Salt Creek Fire to start battling its billowing big sibling.
“The resources at Salt Creek are getting smaller, so we can now shift those resources up here to the Oregon Gulch Fire,” said ODF Structural Liaison Ian Yocum.
For the duration of the fire, the area near the Greensprings Inn will become a logistical hub, providing a constant flow of protection and information to residents in the dark.
And while residents hope that information stays positive, they say they’re prepared to clear out if things take a turn for the worse.
“I’m not even upset to tell you the truth,” said Bender. “I just do what I have to do.”