A fire near Priceboro Drive outside of Harrisburg burns Friday. (Photo provided by Oregon Department of Forestry)

Several fire agencies, including Philomath Fire and Rescue, have responded to a fire late Friday afternoon that is burning vegetation and sending a huge plume of smoke into the air off Priceboro Drive outside of Harrisburg, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office reported.

Labeled as the Priceboro Fire, the state agency has mobilized two task forces to Linn County to help with firefighting efforts.

Philomath Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief Rich Saalsaa, who handles public information for the district, said Chancy Ferguson, local fire chief, is serving as a task force leader.

“We will be part of a five-apparatus task force to support the extinguishment of the fire,” Saalsaa said. “There are three personnel from PFR and one from Adair on the engine.”

Harrisburg Fire and Rescue and the Oregon Department of Forestry were in unified command at the scene of the fire.

The situation led to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office to issue a Level 3 evacuation “go now” warning for all residents in the Mount Tom area.

The Priceboro Fire near Harrisburg. (Photo by Oregon Department of Forestry)

“Burning in heavy timber and some structures threatened,” Saalsaa said.

According to the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Priceboro fire began at approximately 4 p.m. Friday and was estimated at 5:45 p.m. to be about 100 acres in size.

“The fire is growing quickly and OSFM has additional resources standing by to bolster additional response as needed,” the agency reported. “The smoke is visible from Interstate 5 but no highway closures exist currently.”

Weather conditions are expected to remain hot and dry, with some lightning in the forecasts for parts of the state, OSFM said.

“Please be aware that fire risk increased due to the hot, dry and windy conditions,” the state agency said. “The OSFM asks everyone to pay attention to these conditions and take the necessary precautions to avoid sparking a costly wildfire.”

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.