Update: Wildfires Burn Thousands of Acres in Clackamas County

Clackamas County has became ground zero for several dangerous and rapidly spreading wildfires, while smoke and ash continued to blot out the sun and turn the skies grim shades of orange, yellow and red.

Extremely dry conditions, high temperatures and blustery winds have transformed much of the Willamette Valley into a disaster area, that at least one resident said evoked a nuclear winter.

Governor Kate Brown held a press conference Wednesday and said she has invoked a 1941 law, the Conflagration Act that enables the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighting efforts statewide to address the “unprecedented fire” Oregon has seen, “with significant damage and devastating consequences across the entire state.”

“I want to be up front and say we expect to see a great deal of loss in building structures and in human lives,” Brown said. “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”

Clackamas County fire agencies continued to battle at least three major wildfires Wednesday night — along with a number of smaller events — which have combined to burn thousands of acres and destroy dozens of structures.

Here’s the latest from Clackamas County and Clackamas Fire.

Dowty Road Fire

• Estimated total of 12 structures lost, six were houses

• Estimated 400 total structures threatened.

• Estimated 2,200 acres have been burned.

Level 1, 2, and 3 evacuations in place.
• Estimated 10–15% contained

U.S. Forest Service Riverside Fire (Hillockburn Fire)

Clackamas Fire is currently managing approximately 300 acres of a 112,000-acre fire that is impacting the Hillockburn community.

• Estimated total of seven structures lost, five were houses

• Estimated 30+ structures threatened

• Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations in place

• The fire is not contained

Unger Road Fire

Southeast of Oregon Highway 211

• Estimated 200 structures burned, including two houses

• Estimated 250 structures threatened

• Estimated 500 acres burned

• Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations in place

West of Oregon Highway 211

• Four structures burned, including one house

• Estimated 250 structures threatened

• Estimated 350 acres burned

• Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations in place

Wilhoit Fire in Molalla

• Two structures lost, including one house

• Estimated 10 structures threatened

• Estimated 400–500 acres burned (100+ this morning)

• Level 1, 2 and 3 evacuations in place

• Estimated 10–15% contained

Spangler Road Fire at Oregon Highway 213

• Two structures lost, including one house

• Estimated 10 acres burned and under control

• No evacuations currently

Support from the Oregon State Fire Marshal arrived in Clackamas County Wednesday morning and are working with resources from Oregon Department of Forestry, 11 fire agencies and mutual aid from neighboring counties.

As of Wednesday, Clackamas County has issued more than 40 evacuation orders. Currently, the entire county is under at least the first level of evacuation, meaning that everyone in the county should have a plan to evacuate if they have not already been ordered to leave.

In consultation with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Clackamas County has issued an air quality advisory for the entire county due to wildfires. Smoke and air quality levels are changing rapidly.

DEQ has air quality advisories up for many parts of Oregon, including the Willamette Valley and Portland-Vancouver area, through Thursday afternoon. Local, state and federal officials will release updated advisory information on Thursday.

Some people are at higher risk from smoke exposure. People most at risk include those with heart or lung disease (including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD), older adults, and children.

Research indicates that pregnant women, newborns, and people with certain health conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, may also be more affected by particles in the air.

For the latest, see clackamas.us/wildfires/updates.

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