PORTLAND—On Thursday, September 10, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency due to extreme wildfire conditions “threatening lives and property” in the City of Portland and the greater Portland Metropolitan area.
CBS News reported on Friday, States in the West battling more than 100 wildfires, covering an area nearly the size of New Jersey. The fires have forced an estimated 40,000 people in Oregon to flee. USA Today and the New York Times reported some 500,000 people, 10 percent of Oregon’s population, under evacuation orders. There have been 26 reported deaths, with more expected as teams search through burned homes.
As of the Friday morning, fires have consumed more than three million acres in California, more than one million acres in Oregon, and charred parts of Washington State and British Columbia.
“We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state,” said Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, where the Beachie Creek and Riverside fires threatened to merge near Portland’s suburbs.
Portland Mayor Wheeler’s “Emergency Declaration Due to Extreme Threat of Fire” said the City of Portland had limited firefighting resources available to combat widespread wildfires throughout the city. Many of the Portland Fire Bureau’s resources have been deployed to assist with firefighting efforts in other parts of the State of Oregon.
Multiple wildfires spread into populated areas east of Salem and Eugene earlier this week, forcing evacuations in several Marion, Linn Clackamas and Lane County communities.
At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the City of Estacada government issued a warning, telling residents to evacuate, as firefighters have been pulled off fire-lines until it is safe to re-engage. “If you have not evacuated, you must do so now,” read a wildfire update on the city’s website.
Heavy smoke in many places in Oregon and California mixing with fog has been seriously reducing visibility. Social media posters considered the sights “apocalyptic.”
According to InciWeb, an incident reporting system has is actively being used to report fire activity in Oregon, 130,049 acre Riverside Fire is currently burning two air miles southeast of the community of Estacada, Oregon in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Crews on the ground reported intense fire behavior including rapid growth. Extreme fire weather conditions and winds continue to push growth on the fire.
Numerous evacuations are active in and around the community of Estacada, Oregon, and nearby areas throughout Clackamas County. Real-time evacuation updates can be viewed on Twitter at twitter.com/ClackCoSheriff.
There are three emergency evacuation orders for wildfire in State of Oregon counties. Clackamas County issued a level-three evacuation order, titled “Leave Immediately.”
According to www.oregon.gov, “LEVEL 3 – Leave Immediately” the Evacuation Notification Summary posted reads: “Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should evacuate immediately. If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand that emergency services may not be available to assist you further. DO NOT delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.”