Emergency crews responding to multiple large wildfires in northern Oregon, US as of Oct. 9. Some evacuations, transport disruptions ongoing.
Alert Begins 09 Oct 2020 05:50 PM UTC
Alert Expires 14 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: Multiple wildfires
- Location(s): Oregon
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Evacuations, ground transport disruptions; possible power outages
Emergency crews continue working to contain several wildfires burning in different parts of Oregon as of Oct. 9. Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide state of emergency due to the threat of wildfires, and it remains in effect. Several counties, including Marion and Clackamas, declared their own local states of emergency. Tens of thousands of residents across Oregon were forced to evacuate in recent weeks; however, many evacuation orders have since been lifted.
Firefighters have made significant progress in containing the fires due to rounds of rainstorms in previous weeks; however, forecast models indicate warmer-than-normal conditions will persist through at least Oct. 20. Rounds of rain are expected to develop from Oct. 10-12 and Oct. 14, which should aid in containment, especially in northern Oregon.
Currently, several fires are burning across Oregon, but the most notable as of Oct. 9 are Beachie Creek and Lionshead. These fires have prompted several evacuation orders across the state; other large fires, including Archie Creek, have been fully contained and have prompted all evacuation orders in the area to be lifted.
Additionally, authorities have closed Mount Hood National Forest to the public until further notice. Authorities could expand or rescind mandatory evacuation orders depending on evolving wildfire conditions.
The Beachie Creek Fire is burning in the Opal Creek Wilderness and is approximately 24 km (15 miles) east of Salem. The fire is 78,352 hectares (193,613 acres) and is 62-percent contained as of Oct. 9. At least 217 personnel are currently on-site battling the blaze. Some evacuation warnings remain in effect and can be found here.
The Lionshead Fire is burning in the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation and is approximately 73 km (45 miles) east of Salem. The fire is 82,740 hectares (204,455 acres) and is 46-percent contained, as of Oct. 9. At least 947 personnel are currently on-site battling the blaze. Some evacuation warnings and transport disruptions remain in effect and can be found here.
Depending on the progression of the wildfires, the status of nearby roads could change over the coming hours and days; authorities could close routes and evacuate more communities due to fire activity and the needs of response operators. Traffic flows could also be disrupted during re-entry periods after authorities lift evacuation orders. Low visibility from smoke and possible ashfall could contribute to traffic delays and congestion in the region.
Heed all evacuation orders. Seek updated information on road conditions if driving in the affected area; road closures and detours will cause increased congestion and delays. Collect essential items - including identification and any important legal and travel documents - in a "go-bag" that can be easily accessed. Charge battery-powered devices in the case of prolonged power outages.
Individuals not under evacuation warnings should consider remaining inside well-ventilated, air-conditioned spaces to reduce exposure to smoke. Individuals with chronic respiratory illnesses may be more susceptible to the negative effects of smoke inhalation. Eye irritation is possible; flush irritated eyes with copious amounts of clean water.