News, OREGON, Wildfire

Gov. Brown declares statewide emergency over wildfire risk

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Saturday night, citing imminent threat of wildfire across the state. 

“With wildfire behavior increasing across the state, and with the threat of fire not likely to recede in the near future, it is imperative that we act now to prevent further loss—of life, property, business, and our natural resources,” Brown said in a press release. “I issued this emergency declaration to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts and to the crews striving to protect our state.”

Temperatures in the northwest portion of the state are expected to reach highs this week of just under 100 degrees, according to the Portland office of the National Weather Service, and elsewhere in the state, high temperatures, wind, and dry lightning have sparked fires and left conditions ripe for wildfire spread. 

Brown invoked the state’s Emergency Conflagration Act Friday night for the latest major wildfire to start in Oregon, the Rum Creek Fire, which has burned at least 10,700 acres in Josephine County

“It is equally important that each of us do our part to prevent wildfires and to be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent. I am urging Oregonians to take charge in preventing human-caused fires by being safe, responsible, and aware. I am also encouraging individuals and families to be prepared by making an emergency plan and to follow all evacuation orders should they occur in areas of active wildfire,” Brown said. 

Locally, the fire danger for areas protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry in western Washington County remains at “High.

Brown’s emergency declaration for the state allows for greater resource sharing between state agencies in tackling the threat of wildfires. It also means the state can request aid through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact if necessary. 

The emergency declaration will be in force until November 1, or when the wildfire threat is significantly lower, or the fire season ends—as determined by Brown—statewide, whichever of the three comes sooner.

A copy of the emergency declaration, Executive Order 22-17, is available here.

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Gales Creek Journal and sister news publications the Banks Post and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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