Danger from the Cedar Creek Fire has decreased for the town of Oakridge, including St. Michael Parish. (Sentinel archives)
Danger from the Cedar Creek Fire has decreased for the town of Oakridge, including St. Michael Parish. (Sentinel archives)
OAKRIDGE — Fire danger has decreased in the town of Oakridge, where residents had been ordered to leave Sept. 10.

When the winds turned east, the Cedar Creek Fire seemed bound for the town, including St. Michael Catholic Church. Many townsfolk did depart, said Gregoria, a volunteer at St. Michael who decided to stay and preferred not to give her last name.

“We’ll go when we can see the flames,” said Gregoria, who grew up in the area and simply douses her house and yard with water if embers start floating down. So far, only cold ash and smoke have wafted into Oakridge, she reports.

On Sept. 11, after Father Ed Coleman drove to Dexter for Mass, the people in Oakridge called to tell him not to come back that day because of heavy smoke and fire danger. Regular Masses have resumed.

Smoke may continue as firefighters are setting intentional controlled blazes to halt the potential threat. Another east wind could prompt evacuations again, as the 114,000-acred fire is 14% contained as of Sept. 22. Lane County officials have ordered residents to be ready to go.

The fire began Aug. 1 about 15 miles east of town after a lightning strike. The edge of the fire came to within three miles of Oakridge.