Ashland school, neighborhoods evacuated

Updated 3:40 p.m.: Bellview Elementary School and neighborhood near an encroaching fire have been evacuated.

Buses took pupils from Bellview to Ashland Middle School where they were picked up by parents this afternoon, school district officials said. Bellview will be closed on Tuesday.

Neighborhoods that have been evacuated include Tolman Creek Road between the 1300 and 3500 blocks; all addresses on Morninglight Drive, Timberlake Drive and Timberlake Terrace; Bellview Avenue and all streets south, including Greenmeadows Way, Lupine Drive, Sam Evans Place, Ranch Road, Green Meadows Drive, Apple Way and Morada Lane.

Respite centers are set up at the Baptist Church at Siskiyou Boulevard and Tara and at the Ashland Armory. For additional information about finding shelter, call the Jackson County Emergency Operations Center at 776-7338.

Pacific Power has cut electricity to the neighborhoods as a preventive measure.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski issued a conflagration act order at 12:52 p.m., releasing state resources to fight the blaze. He acknowledged that the fire exceeds the fire-fighting capabilities of local departments.

The state report indicated about 440 buildings were threatened and one home had been damaged.

The order authorizes Oregon State Police and the Oregon State Fire Marshall to mobilize fire resources statewide to coordinate personnel and equipment to suppress and contain the fire, which reportedly had burned 80 to 100 acres near Ashland.

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