A fire started by a combine bringing in the harvest spread through farm fields west of Monroe Thursday evening, threatening a number of structures as firefighters from multiple agencies worked to contain the blaze.

The fire began in a wheat field off Coon Road shortly before 6 p.m. and "just started escalating" as 15 mph winds fanned the flames, according to Monroe Assistant Fire Chief Tom Williams, the incident commander at the scene.

"It was a wind-driven fire," he said.

The blaze jumped from the wheat into an oat field and spread to a nearby Christmas tree plantation, sending a large plume of white smoke towering over Monroe. 

Up to 15 structures were in the path of the fire but none had been damaged as of 9 p.m. Thursday, Williams said, and no injuries had been reported.

Residents of the area were warned to be ready to leave if the fire came their way, but no evacuations were ordered, according to Williams. 

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Firefighters appeared to be making progress toward containing the blaze, but it continued to flare up periodically and Williams said it was not yet under control.

Approximately 100 firefighters from area agencies were battling the blaze while a landowner used farm equipment to mow down crops in the path of the fire, robbing it of fuel.

In addition to the Monroe Rural Fire Protection District, there were units from Monroe, Philomath, Hoskins-Kings Valley, Corvallis, Alsea, Adair Village, Junction City, Lane County and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office also was on the scene, controlling traffic in the area and providing other assistance.

Coon Road was closed on either side of the fire for several hours. It was reopened to traffic about 10:25 p.m.

No estimate was available Thursday night of how many acres were burned in the blaze or the dollar value of the property damage.

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