Oregon Office of Emergency Management
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News Releases
Plan Ahead Before Going Home - 09/23/20

As evacuation levels change, people affected by the fires are eager to know when it is safe to go home. As conditions may be unknown in an area, it is important that residents follow the advice of local authorities to learn when it is safe to return. Residents should also check road closures and conditions to know the safest way to travel. Check roads by visiting Oregon Dept. of Transportation’s TripCheck.com.

Once local authorities have given the all-clear to re-enter properties, homeowners should take steps to protect themselves and others, when cleaning up after a wildfire. Many dangers may remain, such as ash and fire debris, which can be toxic. 

Staying safe around ashes:

  • If you see ash or a layer of dust, keep children away until it has been cleaned.
  • Cloth face coverings, paper masks or bandanas are not effective at filtering out fine airborne ash, dust or asbestos fibers. N95 or KN95 respirators, if properly fit, tested and worn, can offer protection from airborne particles.
  • Avoid activities that could stir up ash and make it airborne again, like using a leaf blower, dry sweeping, or vacuuming without a HEPA filter.
  • Use rubber gloves when cleaning up ash. Wash any ash off of your body or clothing right away.
  • To clean up ash outdoors: Gently dampen the ash – do not use a pressure washer, which will generate dust before it wets things down. Then use a vacuum with a high efficiency HEPA filter if you have one. If you don't have a HEPA-equipped vacuum, gently sweep or scoop up the ash.
  • To clean up ash indoors: Use a damp cloth to clean surfaces, a wet mop on floors. Do not use a vacuum to clean up ash unless it has a high efficiency HEPA filter.
  • Turn on an air purifier or ventilation system with a HEPA filter, if you have one, to help remove particles from indoor air.
  • Find more safety tips on the Oregon Dept. of Environmental Quality website.

Making your yard safe:

  • Extinguish hot embers. Check for them in yard debris, rain gutters or crawl spaces, on the roof, and under overhangs and decks.
  • Clear away debris. Move it away from the house to the edge of your home.
  • Check the electric meter. If there is visible damage, don’t turn the breaker on. Call your utility company.
  • Stay clear of electrical wires on the ground. Report them to your utility company.
  • Check the gas meter, gas lines or propane tank. If there is visible damage or if you smell gas, call your local utility or propane company.

Before entering structures: If you have safety concerns, have a qualified building inspector or structural engineer inspect your structures. Don’t enter if you smell gas. Turn off the power before you inspect your structure. Use a flashlight, but turn it on outside because the flashlight battery may produce a spark that can cause a fire.

Entering your structures safely:

  • Check for immediate dangers. This includes remaining fire and fire damage, and wild or domestic animals that may have taken refuge.
  • Check the attic. Embers may have entered through vents.
  • Keep appliances turned off until you have determined the electric meter and electrical lines are undamaged.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Don’t drink or use water from the faucet until emergency officials say it’s okay. Water systems may become polluted if there is post-fire flooding.
  • Take safety precautions for utilities:
    • Electric – If you turn on the breaker and still have no power, contact your utility company.
    • Propane tank or  system – Turn off the valves and call your propane supplier to inspect the system.
    • Heating oil tank system – Call your supplier to inspect it before you use it.
    • Solar electrical system – Have it inspected by a licensed technician to verify the solar panels and wiring are safe.

Documenting Damage and contacting your insurance company: Call your insurance agent. Make a list of the damage and document it with photos and videos. Keep all receipts for repair and cleaning costs.

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Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362)  711/VRS - Video Relay Service). Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish). TTY call 800-462-7585.

 

ODOT_9.20.20_67.jpg
ODOT_9.20.20_67.jpg
2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Update - Sept. 22, 2020 (Photo) - 09/22/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today's Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

ODOT_9.20.20: Removing hazard trees on OR 126. 

Emotional Support: Help is available for FREE at the Oregon Behavioral Health Support Line, call 1-800-923-HELP.

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red_cross_photo___fema.JPG
2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Update - Sept. 21, 2020 (Photo) - 09/21/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today's Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Photo: 09_OR_4562_Stayton_We_Will_Rebuild__DSF5762.jpg

Stayton, Ore. - September 20, 2020 - "We Will Rebuild" sign on Highway 22 overpass just outside Stayton, Ore. - Justin Marquis / FEMA  

Red Cross Photo

Portland, Ore. - September 14, 2020 - Red Cross volunteers working in a shelter at the Oregon Convention Center. - Dominick Del Vecchio / FEMA  

Mayor of Detroit, Jim Trett , Federal Coordinating Officer, Dolph Diemont and Rep. SchraderSeptember
Mayor of Detroit, Jim Trett , Federal Coordinating Officer, Dolph Diemont and Rep. SchraderSeptember
Oregon Wildfire Response & Recovery Update - Sept. 20, 2020 (Photo) - 09/20/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

 

Riverside_Fire_Mt._Hood_National_Forest_Engine_312_2020_09_18-16.55.41.202-CDT.jpeg
Riverside_Fire_Mt._Hood_National_Forest_Engine_312_2020_09_18-16.55.41.202-CDT.jpeg
2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Update - SEPT. 19, 2020 (Photo) - 09/19/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today's Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

A7R000845: Marion County, Ore. - September 16, 2020 - US&R Massachusetts Task Force 1 searches homes in Marion County Oregon in response for the wildfires. - Dominick Del Vecchio / FEMA

Marion County: Marion County, Ore. - Vehicles in a yard along Highway 22 burned by wildfire. - Dominick Del Vecchio  FEMA

FEMA Photo: Link  Phoenix, Ore. –  A search and rescue canine, Nyx, working with a handler from a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Team from Colorado, CO-TF1, rests after searching through damage caused by the Almeda Fire. Historic wildfires have left many people in Oregon homeless, with some still missing. - David Yost / FEMA

Lions Head Fire: Link with information for September 18 Lions Head Fire photo by Nathan Parsons, Ambo 7/E-63

Red Cross: Link with information for September 18: 2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Red Cross responders photo.

Red Cross; Link with information for September 19: 2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Red Cross responders photo.

Riverside Fire: LINK with information for September 18: Mt. Hood National Forest Engine 312 photo.

ODOT: LINK with information for September 18: OSP Senior Trooper Jeff Johnson and ODOT Maintenance’s Tim Acrey of Central Point save an U.S. flag that survived the Almeda Fire in Phoenix. Senior Trooper Johnson, stopped Acrey – who served in the Marine Corps – while supporting traffic control in the Almeda Fire closure in Phoenix along Oregon 99.

2020 Oregon Wildfire Response and Recovery Update - SEPT. 18, 2020 - 09/18/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today's Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us 

 

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Lane County, Ore. - September 16, 2020 - A FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support team installs mobile communications equipment on Mt. Hagen to replace  equipment destoryed by wildfire. - Don Sheppard / FEMA

Blue River, Ore. - September 15, 2020 - The Holiday Farm Fire destroyed businesses, homes, and vehicles. - David Yost / FEMA

An Oregon Army Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter empties a water bucket onto flames on the Brattain Fire on September 15, 2020 near Paisley, Ore. Two Army Guard Black Hawks, headquartered out of Salem, Ore. are currently assigned to the fire. The helicop
An Oregon Army Guard HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter empties a water bucket onto flames on the Brattain Fire on September 15, 2020 near Paisley, Ore. Two Army Guard Black Hawks, headquartered out of Salem, Ore. are currently assigned to the fire. The helicop
Oregon Wildfire Response & Recovery Update - Sept. 17, 2020 (Photo) - 09/17/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or fire.info@state.or.us 

Lionshead Fire Photo
Lionshead Fire Photo
Oregon Wildfire Response & Recovery Update - Sept. 16, 2020 (Photo) - 09/16/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management has posted the Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See today Wildfire Response and Recovery update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us.

Oregon Granted Major Disaster Declaration for September Wildfires - 09/16/20

Following an expedited request to President Trump by Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Monday, Oregon was notified within 24 hours that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by wildfires and straight-line winds beginning on Sept. 7, 2020 and continuing. 

“Oregon is resilient, but to fight fires on this scale, we need all the help we can get,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I am grateful for the White House’s swift response in quickly granting a Presidential Disaster Declaration and the immediate implementation of FEMA’s individual assistance program, which will help bring additional relief to Oregonians impacted by the devastation of these fires.”

The declaration makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 or 1-800-462-7585 TTY. Affected Oregonians are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

Federal assistance through FEMA’s Public Assistance program is available to Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Coos, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Tillamook, Wasco, Washington and Yamhill counties.

“Our office will be working hand-in-hand with FEMA over the coming weeks to ensure that Oregonians know how to apply for assistance,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “This is an important step toward rebuilding the strength of our communities.”
 

Firefighters on the scene at OR 22 east of Salem to Detroit
Firefighters on the scene at OR 22 east of Salem to Detroit
Oregon Wildfire Response & Recovery Update - Sept. 15, 2020 (Photo) - 09/15/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management posted today's Oregon Wildfires 2020 daily release to the Oregon Wildfire Resources page. Additional photos are attached. See the Oregon Wildfire Response & Recovery Update here.

Please direct any media inquiries to the Joint Information Center at 503-373-7872 or e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us.

Oregon Wildfires Response & Recovery Update - Sept. 14, 2020 - 09/14/20

Situation Summary - Oregon Wildfires - Sept. 14, 2020

Fire crews continue to focus on protectonof lfe and property. Evacuation orders continue to change as fire activity and containment levels change; check wildfire.oregon.gov for the latest maps and evacuation levels. Air quality remains at hazardous levels down the I-5 corridor and the Columbia Gorge. Red Flag Wanings for high winds remain in effect in parts of Jackson, Lake and Klamath Counties.

For statistics, media resources and other key information, read the OEM Wildfire Response and Recovery Update  attached.

Oregon Wildfire Response Update: September 13, 2020 - 09/13/20

Salem, OR – September 13, 2020 – State, federal, county and tribal partners are fully engaged in response and recovery efforts for the more than 30 fires burning statewide in Oregon.

With thick smoke limiting aviation resources, firefighters are struggling to contain the fires, the largest of which is more than 55 miles wide. 

More than 1 million acres have burned, leaving thousands of Oregonians displaced from their homes. A total of 3,023 people are currently being supported in shelters run by local counties, the state and the American Red Cross. Shelters are following COVID-19 guidance for group and non-congregate settings to limit spread of the virus. Many evacuated Oregonians are sheltering with friends and family, while others are staying in RVs or vehicles. The American Red Cross has temporary shelters available throughout western Oregon, and those shelters have space available for more evacuees. For a list of temporary shelters, see the Red Cross Oregon website.  

Help donations go where they are needed most
Though well intended, please do not take donations to evacuation centers. Counties have received an influx of donations of materials they are unable to distribute. Unsolicited goods burden local organizations’ ability to meet survivors’ confirmed needs, drawing away valuable volunteer labor, transportation and warehouse space.  

At this time, the best way for the public to help people who are affected by wildfires is to make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross or one of the certified organizations that are members of Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. These on-the-ground organizations know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery.

To donate food, water and other items, reach out to your local food pantry or Community Action Partnership to see if they are able to receive donations. Find food pantries at https://foodfinder.oregonfoodbank.org/.  Community Action Partnership of Oregon: https://caporegon.org/   Phone: 503-316-3951

Help find and reunite loved ones: 
OEM urges the public to update information on their status with the Red Cross. Let loved ones know you are safe at the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. State emergency managers encourage people affected by the fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on the site. It is a helpful tool that can bring relief to people looking for loved ones during these fires, and help inform search efforts. 

Resources
News media and the public can receive news releases from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management by signing up with an email address at the FlashAlert website

Members of the public who are seeking additional information, dial 211 or 1-866-698-6155. You can also text your zip code to 898211 (TXT211). 

Visit wildfire.oregon.gov to for information about donating, volunteering, packing checklist and emergency response agency websites by county.

Oregon Wildfires Impact Hundreds of Thousands of People - 09/11/20

As firefighters continue to battle widespread wildfires that have burned more than one million acres, emergency responders are working around the clock with a focus on saving lives.

Throughout the week, evacuation levels have been changing by the hour as a result of the dynamic fire conditions. Evacuation areas expanded on Thursday afternoon, affecting tens of thousands of people. By late in the afternoon, the number of Oregonians under some level of evacuation notice had jumped to an estimated 500,000, with notices affecting the more densely populated Clackamas County and including additional notices across Oregon.

The statement provided by the Office of Emergency Management of 500,000 evacuated was referenced incorrectly. As Governor Brown stated in her press conference today, 500,000 Oregonians are under an evacuation notice (Level 1, 2 or 3) and more than 40,000 have evacuated. With the rapidly changing situation, all efforts are made to provide accurate and timely information to best inform response efforts and those seeking safety. OEM is working directly with the Red Cross, FEMA, local counties and law enforcement, as well as incident management teams to coordinate and align these crucial information efforts.

“We fully recognize the importance of this information to Oregonians – for response and for planning efforts, and for those seeking safe shelter,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “We are committed to getting it right.”

OEM urges the public to update information on their status with the Red Cross, seek shelter and stay informed. As with all disasters, evacuated Oregonians are sheltering with friends and family, with many choosing to stay in vehicles. Let loved ones know you are safe at the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. State emergency managers encourage people affected by the fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on the site. It is a helpful tool that can bring relief to people looking for loved ones during these fires, and help inform search efforts.

More information will be shared as soon as it is verified and available. We recognize the uncertainty and anxiety Oregonians are feeling at this time and that people need timely and accurate information. Thank you for your understanding and support as we work to keep you informed.

Members of the public who are seeking additional information, dial 211 or 1-866-698-6155, also reachable by texting your zip code to 898211 (TXT211).

 

State Of Oregon Battles Record 900,000 Acres of Wildfires, Urges Public to Stay Away From Fires, Heed Evacuation Warnings - 09/10/20

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.

For additional information, the media and public are encouraged to follow Oregon Office of Emergency Management social media accounts on Twitter @OregonOEM and facebook.com/OMDOEM  

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.

Statewide Fire Update: September 9, 2020 - 09/09/20

Salem, OR – September 9, 2020 – A second night of strong winds continued to fuel fires across Oregon and conditions are changing rapidly. The State Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) is working with state agencies, counties and tribes to support a wide variety of needs. A state Joint Information Center (JIC) is established. Media can contact the JIC at e.info@state.or.us">fire.info@state.or.us or 503-373-7872.

An Oregon Wildfire Resource Website has been created to help Oregonians stay informed and safe: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/.  For additional information, the media and public are encouraged to follow OEM social media platforms @OregonOEM and https://www.facebook.com/OMDOEM/

“We are all in this together,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “If you’re somewhere safe, stay put. Stay informed, be ready, and know where to go and what to bring if you must evacuate.”

Evacuation status
Local evacuation information can be found on the OEM Wildfire dashboard. Information is ever-changing so continue to check back for updated content.

Check with your county office of emergency management to sign up for local emergency alerts.

Know your evacuation levels!

Level 1 – BE READY – Monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs and, in some cases, pets and livestock.

Level 2 – BE SET – Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. There is significant danger to your area. Be prepared to voluntarily relocate to a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEPO as set up by the Red Cross, or move to family/friends outside of the affected area.

Level 3 – GO – Leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent. Do not delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.

The American Red Cross is operating several Temporary Evacuation Points (TEPs) where evacuees can go for information and assistance. Locations change with the need. As of 10 a.m. today, TEPs are located at:

  • Thurston High School, 333 58th St., Springfield, OR
  • Deschutes County Fairgrounds, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond, OR
  • Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave., Oregon City, OR
  • Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2110 Frear St., Roseburg, OR
  • Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St., NE, Salem, OR
  • Taft High School, 3780 Spyglass Ridge Dr., Lincoln City, OR

Letting loved ones know you are safe
The American Red Cross Safe and Well Website is a way for people affected by disaster to enter information regarding their welfare so family and friends can check their status. OEM encourages people affected by the current fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on the site. It is a helpful tool that can bring relief to people looking for loved ones during these fires, and help inform search efforts.

Donations
State partners, local communities and voluntary organizations are working to identify needs of Oregonians affected by the fires. At this time, the best way to support the communities is to provide financial donations to relief organizations actively responding to these disasters. For verified disaster relief organizations, please refer to Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ORVOAD) at www.orvoad.org. Organizations include the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Salvation Army, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, and the Wildland Firefighters Fund. As needs for donations and volunteers are identified, they will be messaged out through the State JIC.

Transportation/Travel
Several roads are closed in affected fire areas. Check TripCheck for the latest information.  If you do not need to travel, please stay off roadways to allow clear access for first responders and evacuees.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs
PGE implemented a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) due to hot, dry, and windy conditions for customers in fire-risk areas near Mt. Hood. This is a proactive safety outage to help protect people, property and the environment in the face of extreme fire danger conditions and high winds forecast in the area. For information about PSPSs, including a map of the affected area, go to PortlandGeneral.com/wildfire or call 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818. Real-time information about unplanned outages can be found at PortlandGeneral.com/Outage. 

Smoke
Smoke levels are currently fluctuating between unhealthy for sensitive groups and hazardous in areas closest to fires. Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk. Cloth, dust and surgical masks don’t protect from the harmful particles in smoke. Additional information on wildfire smoke can be found on the Oregon Smoke Blog.

State Park and State Forest Closures
State parks that are closed until further notice include Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, North Santiam and Collier (north of Klamath Falls). No entry for any purpose is permitted.

Due to the current extreme fire conditions that are endangering life, forest resources and property, as well as very limited fire and emergency response resources The Tillamook, Clatsop and Santiam state forests are closed to all public entry and use effective immediately, as are scattered state forestlands in Polk, Lincoln and Benton counties. Anyone currently in these areas needs to leave right away.

The Santiam State Forest is closed until further notice. Other closures will last until at least Sunday, Sept. 13 at 11 p.m.

COVID-19
Amid wildfire, smoke and erratic weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant. Face coverings are required in all parts of the state and Oregonians are reminded to maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

This update contains information from other state agency reports.

Statewide update: September 8, 2020 - 09/08/20

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management is assisting through the State Emergency Coordination Center multiple counties encountering limited firefighting resources, challenging transportation access, as well as power outages and cellular service interruption. 

Local evacuation information may be unclear due to power outages and a quickly changing situation. Stay tuned to trusted social media sources – county emergency management offices, Red Cross Cascades, state agencies such as the State Fire Marshal, Oregon Department Forestry, Oregon Department of Agriculture, etc. If Internet resources are not possible, contact your county sheriff’s department. If possible, check in on family, friends and neighbors to ensure their safety.  

Know evaluation level actions and heed them!

  • Level 1 – BE READY – Monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs and, in some cases, pets and livestock.
     
  • Level 2 – BE SET – Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. There is significant danger to your area. Be prepared to voluntarily relocate to a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEPO as set up by the Red Cross, or move to family/friends outside of the affected area.
  • Level 3 – GO – Leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent. Do not delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.

Several roads are closed in affected fire areas and due to wind storm damage. Check TripCheck for the latest information.  Additional statewide wildfire information can be found on the State of Oregon Wildfire Dashboard

“Life safety is our number one priority,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “Several jurisdictions have already declared a state of emergency. We are working closely with counties and tribes to assist in any and all ways that we can.”

Public Safety Power Shutoffs
PGE implemented a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) due to hot, dry, and windy conditions for about 5,000 customers located in high fire-risk areas near Mt. Hood.  This is a proactive safety outage to help protect people, property and the environment in the face of extreme fire danger conditions and high winds forecast in the area. This is expected to last 24-48 hours.

For additional information about public safety power shutoffs, including a map of the affected area, go to PortlandGeneral.com/wildfire or call 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818. Real-time information about unplanned outages can be found at PortlandGeneral.com/Outage. 

Smoke
Smoke levels are currently fluctuating between unhealthy for sensitive groups and hazardous in areas closest to fires. Detroit, Florence, Eugene and Chiloquin – are having severe smoke impacts, as are other areas. 

Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk. 

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.
  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.
  • If smoke levels are hazardous, consider leaving the area.
  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems.
  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Additional information on wildfire smoke can be found on the Oregon Smoke Blog.

State Park Closures
State parks that are closed until further notice include Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, North Santiam and Collier (north of Klamath Falls). No entry for any purpose is permitted.

COVID-19
Amid wildfire, smoke and erratic weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant. Face coverings are required in all parts of the state and Oregonians are reminded to maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

This update contains information from other state agency reports.

De-stress safely over the Labor Day holiday - 09/03/20

Adventures in Oregon’s great outdoors have resulted in a busy search and rescue season. Many of these rescue missions are completely avoidable.

Salem, OR – September 3, 2020 – The end of summer is in sight. Labor Day is around the corner, kids are starting back to school, and we’re continually mindful about social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings. The temperatures are rising and it looks like we’re in for a hot stretch.

We all need a break from the heat, and the stress of 2020. Oregon’s gorgeous landscape and waterways offer the best break nature has to offer. However, our parks and waterways have seen record number of visitors, causing an increase in search and rescue missions throughout the state.

We all need to do our part to help keep each other safe, even while we seek respite and fresh air. Please help reduce risk by taking some basic steps to make sure you and your family are prepared:

  • Know your limits! Let's face it, this is just not the year to check out that extra challenging hike you've never done or climb that mountain you've never even seen in person. Be realistic about your health, abilities and expertise as you plan your outdoor activities.
  • Let family or friends know where you're going and when you expect to return.
  • The holiday weekend is a popular time to be on or around water, especially given the hot and dry conditions. If you plan to be in or near a pool, river, lake or other open body of water – in a boat or onshore - remember to bring, and wear, lifejackets or floatation devices. Again, 2020 is not the time to risk it all with that brand new kayak or jet-ski.
  • High temperatures and low humidity are friends to wildfire. Campfires or sparks from cars, campers or RVs can ignite dry grass in an instant. Be prepared. Always have fire extinguishing tools on hand. If a campfire is a must, be sure to know local burn bans and fire restrictions beforehand.  
  • With several days of high heat in the forecast, be sure to carry enough water, sunscreen and a hat.
  • Stay close to home! Familiar territory equals less risk.

These simple steps can make a big difference to help create happy holiday memories during an exceptionally trying year.

For additional info on how you can make sure your next outing doesn't end in disaster, here are some additional wilderness safety tips: http://bit.ly/2mISzS6

To learn more about the Oregon’s Search and Rescue Program, visit http://bit.ly/2nnEnek.

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Life happens fast - be 2 Weeks Ready!
Life happens fast - be 2 Weeks Ready!
September is National Preparedness Month: Life happens fast. Be prepared for unexpected emergencies. (Photo) - 09/01/20

Salem, OR – September 1, 2020 – September is National Preparedness Month. It’s a good reminder to be prepared for what life throws at you, ready or not. Just ask Mosier, Oregon, resident July Maus. 

July’s family – including her husband, four children, brother, sister-in-law, parents, grandmother and seven dogs – were literally in the line of fire on August 12 when the Mosier Creek wildfire ignited near their home.  It was just seven minutes from a too-close smoke sighting and phone call to safety. In that short time, July herded kids and dogs in the car, grabbed a pre-packed box of critical papers and the pet “go-bags”, and sped away. Everyone was out. Everyone was safe. But their home, along with 35 other structures in the area, was destroyed.

It was more than quick thinking that saved 11 lives in seven short minutes. July and her family had a preparedness plan, and they practiced it. Together. It was part of their everyday lifestyle so that when the fire came, it was a plan they just put into action. 

“Our hope is that by sharing our story, we help others understand this can happen to anyone,” July said. “If we hadn’t prepared and practiced as a family, this could be a very different story. We’re extremely grateful we are alive, and we’re safe. People are amazing. Friends, family and perfect strangers have stepped up to help us out and we’ve been well taken care of. We’re so appreciative of the outpouring of support.”

Andrew Phelps is the director of Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management. He’s a proponent of the state’s 2 Weeks Ready program and notes that being prepared for the many hazards Oregonians may encounter can be the difference between being a survivor and being a disaster victim. 

“National Preparedness Month is an opportunity for every Oregonian to learn  how they can best prepare their family for all types of emergencies – from a pandemic, like COVID-19, to a flood or earthquake, to a wildfire or other large-scale emergency,” he said. “Emergencies don’t wait for you to be ready, so it’s important to take steps to prepare today.” 

July and her family are a resilient group. Their next steps are to clean up and rebuild. From their experience, they offer these simple tips to help others practice preparedness:

  • Be ready.
  • Have a plan. 
  • Have items in an accessible spot.
  • Practice.
  • Be ready to leave everything behind.

National Preparedness Month was launched in 2004, to promote family and community disaster planning. Program messages include: Make a plan; Build a kit; Be informed. 

Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a proclamation in support of National Preparedness Month 2020. The decree notes that federal, state and local officials, and the private sector, are working to prevent and respond to all types of emergencies, and how adequate emergency preparation is vital to the health and wellbeing of every Oregonian. 

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