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Oregon Wildfire Grows Rapidly, Destroys Several Structures

MERLIN, Ore. (AP) — A wildfire in remote southwest Oregon continued its rapid spread through a rural area and destroyed several structures, after forcing evacuations and prompting the state to take command of efforts to contain the blaze, officials said Sunday.

The Rum Creek Fire has burned 9,500 acres (3,850 hectares), according to the National Interagency Fire Center. That’s more than double the 4,700 acres (1,900 hectares) reported Saturday.

Three structures were reported destroyed but there was no immediate word on whether any were houses.

A remote area with about 200 people and more than 100 houses and other structures remained under evacuation, according to information from Josephine County Emergency Management.

The evacuation included the unincorporated community of Galice. Sections of the Rogue River, which is popular among rafters and fishers, were closed to recreation because of the fire.

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The fire was started by lightning on Aug. 17 and killed Logan Taylor, a 25-year-old firefighter, after he was struck by a tree the next day.

Gov. Kate Brown’s office on Saturday announced she had invoked an emergency act that cleared the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local firefighters and to support a coordinated response.

Brown has ordered all flags at Oregon public institutions to be flown at half-staff on Monday in honor of Taylor, with his memorial service to be held the same day.

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