Oregon wildfires on Wednesday: Clackamas County blaze 3% contained; new evacuations in S. Oregon (updates)

 oregonlive.com  09/16/2020 14:18:52   Jim Ryan | The Oregonian/OregonLive

Oregons main firefighting concern is now in Lake County, where new evacuations were issued Tuesday because of the encroaching Brattain wildfire.

Both the north and south ends of the Brattain blaze were active Tuesday night, driven by erratic winds. Fire officials advised anyone who didnt need to be in the area to leave immediately.

Paisley, population 270, is among the areas under a mandatory evacuation order because of the human-caused fire, which grew about 5,350 acres from Tuesday to Wednesday.

The blaze now covers 39,500 acres and is 17% contained.

Some evacuation levels have dropped in other parts of Oregon, meanwhile, but the states spate of wildfires is far from over.

For example: Clackamas and Jackson counties, along with all of eastern Marion County, remain under some level of evacuation notice.

Air quality also remains poor for most places in Oregon, but pockets of cleaner air offer hope for days to come.

Wildfires throughout the state have killed eight people, left 16 more missing, burned about 1 million acres and destroyed 1,145 homes, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said Tuesday.

Here is the latest on the fires. This report will be updated throughout the day Wednesday.

Marion County fires

Firefighters have gained greater control over Oregons largest fire, the Beachie Creek blaze, using bulldozers to put down lines, said Scott Owen, a spokesman for the agencies managing the fire.

The fire  which roared down the Santiam Canyon last week  continues to burn but is less active because humidity is higher and smoke is preventing the sun from heating up the forests natural fuel.

Theres still a risk that the Beachie Creek fire might merge with the Riverside fire to the north in Clackamas County, but thats growing increasingly unlikely, Owen said. And even if the fires merge, it wont make much of a difference because most of the fuel there has been spent, he said.

The nearly 191,000-acre Beachie Creek blaze is 20% contained as of Wednesday morning.

The Lionshead fire has also grown to 183,744 acres and is now 10% contained.

Various evacuation orders remain in effect throughout the county.

Clackamas County

Firefighters have also made progress on the Riverside fire, which is now 3% contained.

The blaze grew about 950 acres to a total of 135,524 acres from Tuesday to Wednesday. Much of the county, including the city of Estacada, remains under a Level 3 (go now) evacuation order.

Lane County

The Holiday Farm fire has decimated Blue River, where about 800 people live, and ravaged countless other buildings and dwellings along Oregon 126.

The fire grew 849 acres from Tuesday to Wednesday. It now covers a total of 167,422 acres and is 8% contained.

Douglas County

The Archie Creek fire east of Roseburg has grown over 4,100 acres to a total of 125,498 acres. Its now 20% contained.

The Thielsen fire near Diamond Lake has grown nearly 1,100 acres to a cumulative 7,778 acres. Its 1% contained.

Jackson County

No growth in the 32,030-acre South Obenchain fire near Medford was reported Wednesday. The blaze remains 20% contained.

Josephine County

The Slater fire, which burned into Oregon from northern California, now covers 137,111 acres and remains 10% contained.

Klamath County

The 14,536-acre Two Four Two fire at Chiloquin is completely surrounded by containment lines. The blaze is 21% contained and did not grow from Tuesday to Wednesday.

All evacuations were lifted as of Tuesday morning.

Lincoln County

The 2,552-acre Echo Mountain Complex is now 40% contained. The fire did not grow from Tuesday to Wednesday, and some evacuation levels have been downgraded or removed.

Some areas are under Level 2 and 3 evacuation orders.

Washington County

Investigators have determined an improperly extinguished campfire caused the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak fire, which covered 875 acres and was 100% contained Monday.

On Monday, the Oregon Department of Forestry said the Powerline Fire, which led to evacuations near Hagg Lake, was also 100% contained.

7:23 a.m.: Air quality in the Portland area, along the Interstate 5 corridor and elsewhere ranges from unhealthy to hazardous. But portions of the coast offer cleaner air  a sign of better conditions that are on the way.

The National Weather Service has said hazardous air quality is expected through Thursday for inland valleys. Air quality is expected to improve starting Friday, the agency said, but that improvement could be gradual.

All of Oregon is under an air quality advisory until Thursday, and Portland again has the worst conditions among major cities worldwide. Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, had the second- and third-worst air quality among major cities early Wednesday.

-- Jim Ryan

jryan@oregonian.com; 503-221-8005; @Jimryan015

Fedor Zarkhin of The Oregonian/OregonLive contributed to this report.

« Go back