As a result of strong winds and rising temperatures, wildfires in Oregon that are already burning might get worse or even start in the next three days, according to state officials and Gov. Kate Brown.
Travis Medema, chief deputy state fire marshal, stated, “We’re particularly worried about the next 72 hours.
More than 168,000 acres are already burning in the state, and emergency power shutoffs are anticipated to affect more than 40,000 families starting this Friday. Brown and emergency officials advised Oregonians to get ready to flee or lose power. The shutoffs would aid in reducing the risk of wildfires sparked by downed power lines.
A red flag warning has been issued by the Portland office of the National Weather Service for the hours of Thursday midnight to 11 p.m. Due to the hot weather, strong winds, and low humidity on Saturday. Temperatures will be above 90 degrees on Friday morning, with some places seeing winds of up to 45 miles per hour.
In case your family needs to leave or you wake up without electricity, Brown advised, “Go to bed tonight with a plan.” “Leave the area as soon as instructed if you’re requested to.”
According to Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Department of Emergency Management, those most vulnerable to power outages or fire evacuations should charge their electronics, pack emergency supplies, and get to-go bags ready.
The time for planning is over, Phelps declared. “The time to act is now.”
While not everyone is immediately in danger from wildfires, strong winds could carry smoke over the state and could have an impact on people who already have health issues. Phelps advised that if the air quality deteriorates, individuals should spend as much time indoors as they can.
The latest Van Meter fire in Klamath Falls next to Stukel Mountain, which has burned up to 3,500 acres since Wednesday, is one of seven wildfires now raging in the state.
With multiple locations battling wildfires, northeast Oregon is in higher danger. According to Forestry Fire Chief Mike Shaw, the Double Creek Fire has grown to over 100,000 acres and now threatens the Imnaha and Snake River drainages. Additionally in Northeast Oregon, the Sturgill fire has burned more than 17,000 acres. According to Deputy State Fire Marshal Travis Shaw, there are over 100 properties throughout both fires that are under some sort of evacuation.
Brown has used the Emergency Conflagration Act to call for the state fire marshal to send firefighters and equipment to assist local fire departments in fighting the Double Creek and Sturgill fires.
According to Shaw, authorities are closely watching the Cedar Creek fire in the Willamette National Forest adjacent to Oakridge. In Southern Oregon’s Rum Creek fire, firefighters have had some success, and the state has been able to transfer some of those firefighters to other wildfires, according to Shaw.
Due to the risk of fire, the Oregon Department of Forestry has imposed limitations on state-protected lands in northwest Oregon. Off-highway vehicle trails will be closed, campfires will be prohibited, and some forest roads will be closed as of this Friday.
Multnomah County received a mandatory burn ban on Thursday. This includes campfires used for recreation, fire pits used for yard waste, agricultural burning, and open burning authorized by licenses. When grilling outside, the county advises residents to exercise caution.
Staying indoors may be challenging due to power disruptions and excessive heat. She said Brown has asked that generator-powered cooling shelters be opened available as a precaution.
At the Corbett Fire Station and the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Station 72, Multnomah County is opening two resource centers with charging stations, ice, water, and information. They start operating from 10:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday if the power is not restored on Friday.
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