High temperatures and strong winds this week continue to create disastrous fire conditions across Oregon, as over 500,000 acres have been burned or scorched and thousands have fled their homes.
Several wildfires burning near the Oregon Coast have forced immediate evacuations in a swath of Lincoln City. Evacuees have jammed roadways, many sitting in traffic for hours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.