Canby Fire Advises Residents To Be Ready to Evacuate

After another chaotic night of wildfires raging throughout the region, here’s the latest for our area from Canby Fire District and other sources.

The city of Canby is on a Level 1 evacuation — meaning residents should be getting ready and making plans.

“We encourage people to have their medications, go to the pharmacy and make sure you have everything you need,” Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis tells the Current. “Make arrangements for where you’re going to go.”

Particularly, residents in rural areas should get their homes and outbuildings prepped. Make sure gates are open so there is clear access for fire apparatus to get to their homes if needed.

Level 2 is commonly described as the “get set” stage, but if Canby reaches this level, the chief recommend you evacuate if you can.

“That way, we avoid traffic jams and everyone else trying to get out of town,” he says.

There are currently three major fires in Clackamas County, all south of Highway 211 and miles from downtown Canby. One in Estacada, Scotts Mills, which is the largest one, and one in Colton.

The Colton fire — where Chief Davis himself and most Canby Fire personnel has been laboring for the better part of two days — could merge with the Estacada event in the Springdale area today. This is being closely monitored and crews are fighting this as best they can.

Right now, everything south of 211 from Woodburn to Colton is on level 3 evacuation, which means you have to leave — as soon as possible. There is no eminent threat to Canby, the chief says.

“What would have to happen for fire to get into Canby is it would have to come from Beavercreek into Mulino or from the Carus area,” he said. “Or Scotts Mills would have to cross 211, but that’s not the wind direction right now.”

Numerous state resources from eastern and central Oregon are coming into Clackamas County to assist local agencies, the chief said.

The Clackamas County Fairgrounds is at capacity for emergency sheltering livestock. However, it is the American Red Cross check-in station for folks that are forced to evacuate, Chief Davis said. Call the fairgrounds at 503-266-1136 for the latest.

Another station has been established at Clackamas Community College. And Bethany Church on South Ivy Street is offering its spacious parking lot for RVs and mobile homes of families forced to evacuate.

All of the fire district’s paid positions have been called into round-the-clock service, and most have been working virtually nonstop since 6 p.m. Monday.

“We’re doing good,” says the chief. “We try to catch two to three hours of sleep when we can. That seems to help quite a bit.”

Some firefighters and their families have been part of the forced evacuations, as have Canby police officers, according to Police Chief Bret Smith.

Despite an unknown number of homes that have been damaged or lost, there have been no deaths or injuries reported.

“Life safety is first priority,” says Chief Davis. “We have been working very hard to evacuate everyone who might be in danger, and everyone has been cooperative.”

The skies over Canby rose dark and red and more than a little ominous Wednesday morning. Air quality is poor throughout Clackamas County.

“It’s crazy,” the chief admitted. “I got off the Colton fire last night about 5:30 and it was already pitch black.”

Residents can subscribe to alerts on the county’s website. Canby Fire will also be providing updates every two hours on its Facebook page.

Classes were canceled again for Canby School District and Clackamas Community College due to evacuations and the continuing state of emergency.

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