News stories from all along the Oregon coast from Astoria to Brookings, from OregonBeachMagazine.com. Come here daily for the latest news update.
Friday, September 11, 2020
Oregon Beach Weather
This Afternoon Widespread smoke. Cloudy, with a high near 69. Cloudy and smokey overnight with a low around 54. Calm wind.
Saturday Widespread smoke. Partly sunny, with a high near 78. Light and variable wind.
Sunday Partly sunny, with a high near 77. Calm wind becoming west southwest around 6 mph in the afternoon.
Monday A 20 percent chance of rain after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 75.
Tuesday Showers likely, mainly after 11am. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 77.
Wednesday A chance of showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 76.
High temperatures and strong winds this week continue to create disastrous fire conditions across Oregon, and along the Oregon coast near Lincoln City.
Across Oregon over 500,000 acres have been burned or scorched and thousands have fled their homes.
There are several fires around Lincoln County have now have burned more than 2,400 acres, state fire officials reported on Friday, more than doubling in size in the last 24 hours. Many of the fires remains uncontained. The winds have pushed the fire spread back toward areas already burned and away from the denser population center of Lincoln City.
Weather conditions are favorable to firefighters on the front lines and the relative humidity should aid them as they fight to keep the Echo Mountain Complex of wildfires within an established perimeter.
Downgraded to Level 2 (Get Set)
Roads end from the beach over to Hwy 101, south to NW 39th and west to ocean. You may return home. Be aware that NW Natural does not have gas back on yet and and electricity may go off and on for the next few days as crews repair lines. Level 2 and Level 1 notices removed: NW 39th to west side of Devil’s Lake and south through the city of Lincoln City.
For questions or if you need transportation still, contact the Lincoln County Call Center 541-265-0621.
The Echo Mountain Complex Fire is four miles east of Lincoln City on Highway 18. 238 fire personnel are deployed to the area utilizing 11 engines, eight water tenders, eight dozers, 10 hand crews and 44 administrative. Fire officials say the fire is still very active and dynamic and urge the public to respect road closures as they are in place to protect firefighters and the public’s safety.
Earlier this week along Highway 101, several wildfires burning near the Oregon Coast forced immediate evacuations in a wide area of Lincoln City. Evacuees jammed roadways, many sitting in traffic for hours. Many are returning home today. (Friday)
Two large fires burning since late Monday in Lincoln County, the Echo Mountain fire and the Kimberling fire, have together grown to about 1,000 acres, driven by east winds of 30 to 50 mph, fire officials said. The cause has not been determined. An ember ignited also a grassfire at the Chinook Winds golf course in the north of Lincoln City.
Officials ordered anyone north of Northwest 40th Street in Lincoln City — near the Chinook Winds Casino Resort — to leave immediately. The Level 3 evacuation notice, meaning “go now,” includes anyone between the coast and East Devil’s Lake Road. Additionally, any residents of East Devil’s Lake Road in Lincoln County are ordered to leave immediately.
An evacuation point has been established at Oregon Coast Community College in South Beach. Chinook Winds, which had been serving as a temporary evacuation point, has now itself been evacuated.
People south of 40th Street to the Lincoln City Outlets are under Level 2 evacuation orders — meaning “get set” and were prepared to leave immediately.
Fires have closed Oregon 18 at Milepost 7, and U.S. 101 is closed from Gleneden Beach to Lincoln City. Fires are burning on both sides of Oregon 18 near Otis, according to local officials.
The blazes had already forced the immediate evacuations from U.S. 101 east to the area of Rose Lodge overnight, where evacuation areas expanded Wednesday afternoon. The county is posting evacuation areas on its website and on an interactive map.
Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, in the Level 2 evacuation area, has shut down. Officials there made the decision to close and move patients to Newport. (see their hospital site for any updated information please)
People trying to evacuate have flooded highways in the area, and drivers are using a center turn lane to head south.
Lincoln City’s year-round population is just over 9,000, but local estimates say it can grow to 30,000 during the busiest tourist months. The county has about 50,000 permanent residents. The blazes that make up the Echo Mountain fire complex ignited north of Oregon 18 near the communities of Otis and Rose Lodge. The eastern Echo Mountain fire jumped the highway and is moving south.
An aircraft equipped with infrared cameras is expected to provide more information about the size and dynamics of the fire. Officials say it will take 48 hours to assess overnight damage because firefighting personnel are stretched thin.
Officials urged residents to be careful with motorized equipment and other potential ignition sources.
“We can’t handle another fire start on the landscape,” said Michael Currans, an Oregon Department of Forestry forester.
Near Eugene and Springfield is the Holiday Farm Fire, which on Friday is now at more thank 126,000 acres. The fire in Lane County began near Blue River, nestled in the foothills of the Cascades about 50 miles east of Eugene. On Tuesday, fire officials reported it was with 0% contained.
Willamette Valley Magazine is learning that 80-100 homes have been lost in the McKenzie River community of Blue River and perhaps lives have been lost as well.
Blue River, along with Vida, Mohawk, McKenzie Bridge, Leaburg and Walterville are all under varying evacuation orders with residents being told to head to two shelters in Springfield: The Bob Keefer Center at 250 S. 32nd St. and Willamalane Adult Activity Center at 215 W. C St.
Early afternoon Wednesday, Level 3 evacuation notices were also issued for residents of some areas of Springfield and east of Springfield. Those new areas include the Mohawk Valley north of the McKenzie River and east of Marcola Road, including Upper Camp Creek and Camp Creek roads.
Those living off Oregon 126 between Walterville, about five miles east of Springfield’s city limits, and the McKenzie Ranger Station, including all roads to the north and south of the highway, have also been told to leave immediately.
At least 3,000 people in Lane County are currently displaced and officials are waiting to see if there will be a death toll in that area.
Lane County officials have opened several centers in Eugene and Creswell to residents seeking to escape high temperatures and heavy smoke in the area: the Lane Events Center, 796 W. 13th Ave., Hilyard Community Center, 2850 Hilyard St., and Petersen Barn Community Center, 870 Berntzen Road, all in Eugene, and the New Hope Baptist Church, 597 S. Front St., in Creswell.
Due to unprecedented fire activity and extreme weather conditions over the last three days, the Umpqua National Forest has issued closure orders for the Diamond Lake and North Umpqua Ranger Districts, officials said Thursday evening.
“This restricts access to all but emergency personnel and persons that have a permit specifically authorizing their presence in the closure areas,” forest officials said. “There are multiple fires that are burning on the Forest. This combined with the recent high wind event has blocked roads and trails making travel both hazardous and increasing the potential for entrapment behind fast moving fires.”
The Closure is to protect the public and firefighters as active fire suppression work involves heavy equipment. A statement from the fire officials reads:
The Forest continues to be in EXTREME FIRE DANGER and has instituted Public Use Restrictions Level 2. This prohibits all campfires on all Umpqua National Forest lands until further notice. “While the public lands of the Umpqua are an excellent place to recreate, at this time we need to allow professional fire fighters sole access to control the wildfires on the Forest”, said Vern Shumway, the Umpqua National Forest Recreation Program Manager.
For more information about the Umpqua National Forest call the Forest at (541) 957-3200 or www.fs.usda.gov/umpqua.
From the FBI Portland Bureau
FBI Portland and local law enforcement agencies have been receiving reports that extremists are responsible for setting wildfires in Oregon. With our state and local partners, the FBI has investigated several such reports and found them to be untrue. Conspiracy theories and misinformation take valuable resources away local fire and police agencies working around the clock to bring these fires under control. Please help our entire community by only sharing validated information from official sources.
Facebook is being partly blamed for rumors of Antifa arrests in southern Oregon. Rumors spread just like wildfire and 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in Douglas and Jackson Counties. Not true.
Law enforcement officials urge residents to stop spreading rumors. Follow official sources of information such as local emergency response websites and pages, government websites and pages and local reputable news outlets.
Stunned residents of the small Oregon town of Phoenix walked through a scene of devastation Thursday after one of the state’s many wildfires wiped out much of their community, including a mobile home park, houses and businesses.
After spending the night in their cars in a Home Depot parking lot, a stream of people walked into what was left of the town that hugs Interstate 5 near the California border. They hauled wagons and carried backpacks and bags to salvage whatever was left of their belongings.
STATE OF OREGON BATTLES RECORD 900,000 ACRES OF WILDFIRES, URGES PUBLIC TO STAY AWAY FROM FIRES, HEED EVACUATION WARNINGS
Firefighters re prioritizing life safety as they battle a record 900,000 acres of wildfires across Oregon. The public and the news media are urged to stay away from active and evacuated wildfire areas, to obey road closure barricades, and to monitor and follow evacuation orders.
An estimated 500,000 Oregonians have been evacuated and that number continues to grow.
The public is urged to check local county websites for information on evacuation orders, which may include email, cell phone text messages.
The public is also urged to sign up for emergency alerts; which vary by county.
In other major developments today:
- In response to reports of price gouging in lodging rates and other essential consumer goods and services for Oregonians who have evacuated fire areas, Gov. Brown issued Executive Order 20-42, to help protect consumers from price gouging. This order also prevents of other essential consumer goods and services.
- Gov. Brown also signed a request today for a federal disaster declaration. If approved, a declaration could result in federal financial assistance for disaster response, recovery, and mitigation against future disasters.
State emergency management officials encourage people affected by the current fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on The American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. This helpful tool can bring relief to people looking for loved ones and help inform search efforts.
OEM Director Andrew Phelps said the extensive number of fires, and their severity, have tapped out statewide resources. The agency is reaching out to emergency management agencies across the country for resources, assistance and support. Resource requests are initiated through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), a national interstate mutual aid agreement enabling states to share resources during times of disaster.
“Our Oregon firefighters and the emergency management community have been fully engaged on these devastating fires, including the many first responders who have been personally affected by the evacuations, power outages and destruction. Their efforts, stamina and response are nothing short of heroic,” said Phelps. “We can all do our part to support them by staying informed, being ready to go if evacuation and if you are somewhere safe, staying put.”
Visit wildfire.oregon.gov to learn about an interactive fire and hotspot map, road closures, air quality index, emergency lodging and more.
State agencies have posted videos and high resolution photos for news media and public use. See the Flickr account for the Oregon Department of Transportation and the visual information website for the Oregon National Guard.
Members of the public who are seeking additional information can call 211.
Oregon officials remain shocked by the number of simultaneous fires, which stood at 39 on Thursday morning, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.
At least three people in Oregon were reported killed, including a boy and his grandmother, and several others critically burned. Deaths in Washington included a 1-year-old boy. Elsewhere, wildfires damaged towns in a canyon and the foothills of the Cascade Range, where the remains of a boy and his dog were found. Flames also hit the coastal town of Lincoln City and Estacada, 30 miles (48 kilometers) southeast of Portland.
Fires also erupted along Interstate 5, forcing a shutdown Wednesday of the main freeway along the West Coast. U.S. Highway 101, the main coastal highway running through California, Oregon and Washington, was affected too.
Authorities are investigating the Almeda fire as an arson after discovering human remains in Ashland, the city police chief said.
The Ashland Police Department, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police arson investigators are investigating the nature of the death of the person found, according to Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara. Jackson County Sheriff Nate Sickler is reported as saying the remains found in Ashland might not be the only fatality from the fire that ravaged Talent and Phoenix and threatened parts of Medford. An Oregon State Fire Marshal incident management team is assisting with the Almeda fire.
As of late yesterday, the Two Four Two Fire near Chiloquin, Oregon, is about 12,500 acres in size as of this morning, Friday. It remains at about 5 percent containment. About 315 homes remain evacuated, according to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership.
The Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team says the evacuations of the Woodland Park and Rainbow Park communities were lifted on Thursday. These areas contain about 175 homes. None of these homes were damaged. About 228 people on Wednesday were able to return to their homes west of Highway 62 at Modoc Point, and at Oregon Shores 1 and 2. There were no known injuries or fatalities as of Thursday morning.
Eight homes were confirmed destroyed and 31 others have been damaged. A total of 70 structures have been damaged. The estimated cost to fight the fire is $1.2 million and rising.
The sheriff issued a new Level 1, “Get Ready”, evacuation notice for Highway 62 from milepost 94 to Sun Mountain Road. All other evacuations remain the same.
Two Four Two Fire Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TwoFourTwoFire
The fire’s Facebook page has a video explaining the evacuation areas and levels. Late this afternoon, a retardant drop along the fire’s north side helped slow the fire’s spread, allowing firefighters to strengthen the containment lines. Firefighters held the line along Highway 97. Along the west side, firefighters removed dangerous trees and cooled hot spots. Crews will use water and hand tools to put out hot spots along Highway 97.
On the north side, firefighters will also continue strengthening the line. Safety remains our top priority. This includes trying to prevent COVID-19 infections. Personnel are following the Center for Disease Control guidelines. This means limiting personal contact within fire camp and the community. The fire camp is closed to the public and media.
Crater Lake National Park has issued a Level 1 evacuation notice for the entire park effective at noon yesterday.
The Level 1 notice informs residents and visitors to “be ready” for a potential evacuation, including employee dormitories and trailer sites, in the event that a fire approaches. Current or projected threats from nearby fires indicate that there may be a need to evacuate in the future. However, there are no mandatory evacuations at this time. In the event that conditions worsen, the park will make every attempt to contact visitors and residents personally.
If visitors are absent from your residence, lodging room, campsite, or vehicle for more than a short time, leave a note with your name and a contact telephone number in a door or window where it can be easily seen.Around the state of Oregon
Evacuation Status Update for fairgrounds is being updated on the Oregon Fairs Association Website – www.oregonfairs.org. Click on WILDFIRE FAIRGROUNDS RESOURCE GUIDE. To provide updates, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor Kate Brown has issued an executive order declaring an “abnormal market disruption” due to Oregon’s wildfire state of emergency — a method for state agencies to crack down on price-gouging in times of distress. Brown’s office said that it has seen reports of “unusual increases in lodging rates” for Oregonians who have evacuated or lost homes from the multiple wildfires burning around the state, prompting Brown who last declared an abnormal market disruption in March as the coronavirus pandemic sparked similar concerns over price gouging on essential items, particularly cleaning and hygiene supplies. Brown’s office said that this order remains in effect amid concerns that other goods or services could likewise lose availability or rise in price.
COVID-19 has claimed three more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll to 497, the Oregon Health Authority reported yesterday. Oregon Health Authority reported 187 new confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 bringing the state total to 28,654.
During Oregon’s wildfires and safety evacuations, it is important to take precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19, particularly for those in isolation or quarantine due to a positive diagnosis or exposure to the virus. The first priority in wildfire situations is responding to the evacuation and safety instructions of local and state fire officials – and heeding their warnings. Regardless of disease status, if you are asked or ordered to evacuate, you should do so.