Fire Officials: No Plans to Move Canby to Level 3 Evacuations

Canby is at a state of level 2 evacuation Friday morning, and there are no plans to advance it to level 3 mandatory evacuation unless there is a drastic change to the situation.

Canby Fire Division Chief Matt English told the Current Friday that he had just made contact with the state fire operations center and the current plan does not have the Canby area moving past level 2 — pack and get ready to leave immediately, if necessary.

“Right now, they are just going to maintain it at a level 2, and there are no plans to make it a level 3,” English said.

The division chief was unable to provide a scenario that would prompt mandatory evacuation, due to the tenuous and constantly shifting nature of the wildfires still ripping through southern and central Clackamas County.

“There are no real good metrics or a linear equation that I can give you on the fire’s movement at this point,” English said. “It’s just changing too fast.”

Latest fire map for the Clackamas County area. Courtesy Canby Fire District.

The fires raging in the Molalla area did not progress further north of Highway 211 Thursday night — a much-feared scenario that would potentially put homes and other structures surrounding the city of Molalla at risk.

The county fairgrounds is still receiving people and animals as needed, English said, the caveat being that the American Red Cross is not able to operate or lens support to an evacuation site if it is a phase 2 zone.

A visit by The Canby Current Thursday evening showed fairgrounds staff were not asking people to leave unless they had somewhere to go. Many left voluntarily; others said they would stay because they had nowhere to go and felt safest there.

An estimated 40,000 Oregonians (initial reports of 500,000 proved to be far overblown) had fled their homes as of Friday, as fire agencies have struggled for days to fight apocalyptic wildfires that have burned over 900,000 acres and killed at least three people.

Breakdown of Fires

The Riverside Fire, which the U.S. Forest Service says is human cause, is burning southeast of Estacada and had expanded to over 130,000 acres as of Friday morning, according to officials, and is 0% contained. As of Thursday afternoon, an estimated 230 structures, including 16 homes, had burned.

Last updated on Thursday, officials say the Unger Road Fire has burned 200 structures, including five houses southeast of Highway 211. Four structures, including one house, had burned west of 211.

In Molalla, the Wilhoit Fire has destroyed two structures, one of which was a house. Officials estimated it was between 10-15% contained by 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Twelve structures have been lost, including six homes, to the Dowty Road Fire. It’s also estimated at 10-15% containment.

The Spangler Road Fire — which started within the last 24 hours at Hwy 213 — had burned 10 acres and two structures (including one house), and was under control by 8 p.m. Wednesday.

A new fire broke out on Elk Rock Island near Milwaukie in Clackamas County on Wednesday night was quickly contained. Firefighters were mopping up around 9 p.m. — less than an hour after responding to the scene.

The fire caught in the trees and burned about half an acre. No evacuations were ordered.

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