'The store and most structures here at Dry Creek have been saved'

Flames from the Umpqua North Complex of fires near the Dry Creek Store on Hwy 138 east of Roseburg. (Photo courtesy Thomas Morton)

EUGENE, Ore. - Local firefighters told evacuees to "look for information about returning home over the next two to three days."

The growth of the Milli Fire prompted the evacuations southwest of Sisters, Ore.

Up the North Umpqua River in Dry Creek, Ore., the owners of the local store stocked up in anticipation of eclipse traffic - only to find themselves evacuated, and a nearby stretch of Highway 138E closed.

"Two weeks before these fires began we purchased huge amounts of inventory to accommodate the pending eclipse customers," the Dry Creek Store posted on Facebook. . "Just a few days later a huge thunder and lightening storm came through and a few days after that numerous fires started burning."

Firefighters scrambled in the days to come to identify where news fires had started. At one point, fire officials were aware of dozens of fires varying in size from a few trees to a few acres - and still had dozens of "smoke reports" to check out.

Firefighters organized the effort as the Umpqua North Complex, with "complex" an administrative concept. Firefighting resources would be moved from fire to fire in the area as needed to limit the risk to lives and structures.

The complicated work could last until the region sees significant rain: likely late summer or early fall.

"Once it is safe to do so, All we ask is if you could make a trip out here to support us by making a purchase we would be extremely grateful," the Dry Creek Store posted on Facebook. "Our future relies on your support, thank you from all of us at the Dry Creek Store."

The scenic North Umpqua River attracts anglers, boaters and hikers. The epic North Umpqua Trail offers over 80 miles of mountain biking past dramatic Toketee Falls - and through areas with names like Dread & Terror, or Deer Leap.

If you've never been, you should visit.

Once it is safe to do so. Check with local land managers when in doubt about campground, trail and forest road closures.

At times, segments of the North Umpqua Trail and the river itself have been closed due to hazards like falling trees.

"Fires burned on both sides of the road for 11/2 miles east of Dry Creek and trees continue to crash to the ground across the river," the Dry Creek Store posted on Facebook. "The store and most structures here at Dry Creek have been saved."

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