Wildfires have torn through 1 million acres of Oregon, including hundreds of thousands of acres near Salem. Here are the most recent updates from fire officials and examples of how the community is reaching out to help:
Update 8 p.m.
Beachie Creek, Riverside fires 1 mile apart; merger not ‘imminent’
The Beachie Creek and Riverside fires remain about a mile apart, but a merger of the two is not “imminent,” according to Oregon State Fire Marshal officials.
And based on weather conditions, if the two fires east and northeast of Salem were to merge, it would not result in “dynamic fire behavior” as previously suspected, officials said.
As of Sunday night, authorities reported 16,776 structures at level 3 evacuations and another 18,528 homes in level 2 evacuations in Marion, Clackamas and Linn counties.
“It is imperative to protect first responders and communities in the path of the fire that everyone heeds fire and law enforcement road closures and evacuations,” fire marshal officials said.
Find more information on the Fire Information Center’s official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pg/BeachieCreekFire2020/.
Updated at 6:45 p.m.
Sheriff: Don’t share information about vacant homes
The Marion County Sherrif’s office has advised residents living in areas under level 2 – Be Ready – evacuation orders and those “who chose to voluntarily evacuate,” to use caution when sharing information over social media.
The information, Sheriff Joe Kast said in a Facebook post, “can be used by criminals to identify vacant homes.”
Kast said there are sufficient police resources in these areas, focusing on protecting homes, businesses and property.
“Area law enforcement agencies are united in efforts to protect our community members from those who chose to take advantage of wildfire victims.,” he said. “Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon and I have agreed to hold anyone arrested for crimes in the evacuated area in custody until arraignment.”
Updated at 6:15 p.m. Sunday
142nd Wing Airmen sent to help battle Oregon wildfires
Members of the 142nd Wing were deployed Sunday to support efforts to contain the wildfires raging across Oregon.
Seventy-five airmen left Portland Air National Guard Base in the morning and have been sent to locations across the state, officials from the Oregon Military Department said in a release.
Airmen teams sent to Klamath County, Echo Mountain Complex Fire in Lincoln County and the Archie Creek Fire in Douglas County are helping firefighters dig fire lines, according to Stephen Bomar, Oregon Military Department public affairs director.
The goal is to help contain the fires to free up first responder firefighters, allowing them to extinguish flames beyond the firelines.
Another team will help Oregon State Police guard 25 checkpoints in Marion, Linn, Lane, Jackson, and Lincoln counties, to make sure no one enters restricted fire areas and residents get back to their homes once conditions are safe, Bomar said.
Airmen also will assist the Oregon State Police Fatality Search and Recovery Team to help located fire victims, he said.
The deployment is part of Operation Plan Smokey, which makes Oregon National Guard troops available to the Oregon Department of Forestry to help with emergencies, officials said.
Scotts Mills evacuation notice drops to level 2
Authorities reduced the evacuation levels for the city of Scotts Mills and surrounding areas in Marion County on Sunday, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
The reduction from level 3 to level 2 was made following consultation with Beachie Creek Fire management officials, sheriff’s office authorities said.
The following are updated evacuation levels for Marion County:
Level 3 “Go”
- Mill City
- North Fork Rd recreation area
- Grade Road and Bridgecreek Road east of the Level 2 line
- Crooked Finger Road east of the level 2 line
Level 2 “Be ready”
- Areas east of Meridian Rd, Davis Creek and Victor Point
- Scotts Mills
Level 1 “Get ready”
- Mt. Angel
- Meridian Rd South to Cascade Hwy
- West of Davis Creek
- West of Victor Point south to the County line
To see current Marion County Evacuation Zones please visit: http://bit.ly/MCEvacZones
Updated at 3:15 p.m. Sunday
Silver Falls State Park mostly unscathed, so far
Silver Falls State Park has been mostly unscathed so far, even as the Beachie Creek Fire burned right up to and within its boundaries.
Silver Falls Park Manager Guy Rodrigue said only the southeastern part of the park had been impacted so far, and even in that case, it was just a low-intensity ground fire that did not badly damage an area near the Catamount, Buck Mountain and Lost Creek trails.
The canyon home to the park’s iconic waterfalls has not been impacted at all.
“Things are going well, the weather is cooperating and allowing firefighters to be proactive,” Rodrigue said. “I feel good about where we are right now.”
Updated at 3:05 p.m. Sunday
Businesses raise money for those impacted by fires
A Salem coffee shop and an HVAC company stepped up today to raise funds for those impacted by the wildfires.
Long lines of cars waited at both the southeast Salem Bentley’s Coffee location and Salem Heating & Sheet Metal, Inc. to make purchases benefiting families who’ve had to evacuate and lost their homes.
Bentley’s promoted on its Facebook page that it would be open at its Mission St. SE shop from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13, donating $1 from every drink sold to the Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund.
Salem Heating posted on its Facebook page that after hearing about a local shortage of furnace air filters, it would be open from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday to help fulfill needs while supplies last, donating all proceeds to employees who have been displaced by the fires.
Updated at 2:05 p.m. Sunday
Evacuation levels drop from level 1 to normal in some areas of Clackamas County
The wildfires evacuation level for the Riverside Fire has dropped from a level 1 to normal in Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Clackamas, Happy Valley, Gladstone, Tualatin, Milwaukie, and some areas near Boring and Damascus.
But here are no reductions in level 3 or level 2 evacuations, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
Air quality remains extremely poor due to wildfire smoke and residents are encouraged to stay inside.
The updated fire evacuation map can be found on the Clackamas County Website. Keep an eye on the Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index for air-quality updates.
Updated at 1:15 p.m. Sunday
Cadaver dogs from Nevada Task Force 1 Rescue Team sent to Oregon
The Nevada Task Force 1 has sent two cadaver dogs and a rescue team to Oregon to search for human remains in the Santiam Canyon fires.
The team, consisting of a search team manager, a logistic team manager an intel specialist and two dogs, left Saturday morning from Las Vegas to Salem, according to officials from Clark County, Nevada.
Dozens of people have been reported missing in the Oregon wildfires, Gov. Kate Brown confirmed Friday.
Officials with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said as of Saturday evening, five people reported missing in the Santiam Canyon have yet to be accounted for. The remains of four people have been found.
The Oregon State Police are reporting dozens of additional missing people in Lane and Jackson counties.
The Nevada Human Remains Detection Team is coordinating with local and state authorities to conduct search operations to ensure no-one is left unaccounted for,” Clark County officials wrote. “The mission could last up to 14 days depending on the needs of local authorities.”
The crew is part of two additional teams activated to help with Oregon fires: One from Utah and one from Washington, consisting of 160 personnel. The Nevada team sent a structural specialist as a single resource in support of Utah Task Force 1 to assist with the same mission, officials said.
In 2018, several cadaver dogs were sent to Paradise, California to help handle the deadly fallout from the Camp Fire, which left at least 85 dead in a population of about 27,000.
Updated at 11:25 a.m Sunday
Detroit and Idanha residents can check on status of residences
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office continues to limit access into the Santiam Canyon due to what it called “dangerous and unpredictable conditions.”
But a phone line at 503-798-6823 has been established to have a deputy go check on residences in Detroit and Idanha and report back to owners.
Residents of those two communities may call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days a week to request a check on their homes.
The sheriff’s office will need the following information when residents call:
- Phone number
- Anyone missing from the location, including name, age, phone number
- Any animals at the location
“We will process these requests as we receive them and a deputy will call you back,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release Sunday. “We understand the anxiety of not knowing the condition of your property and want to get you answers as soon as we safely can.”
Updated 9:10 a.m.
Air quality again hazardous in and around Salem
The air quality in Salem was hazardous again Sunday , according to the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index.
The AQI for Salem ranged from 446 to more than 500. Air quality is considered hazardous between 301 and 500. Values above 500 are beyond the AQI scale.
Residents were advised to stay indoors and reduce their exposure. Smoke levels can change rapidly and be monitored either on the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app for smartphones.
The good news is that rain is expected Monday night, which should help mellow the fires and eventually clear the smoke next week, the National Weather Service in Portland said.
The air quality advisory runs through midday on Monday.
Showers are forecast for much of the week.
Updated 6:20 p.m. Saturday
Facebook will quash false claims
Days after local police departments decried as false widespread rumors that wildfires were started by various groups, including claims that anti-fascist activists and the Proud Boys, a far-right group, had started certain fires, Facebook has started removing those claims from the social networking site.
“We are removing false claims that the wildfires in Oregon were started by certain groups,” Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, posted to Twitter Saturday. “This is based on confirmation from law enforcement that these rumors are forcing local fire and police agencies to divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public.
“This is consistent with our past efforts to remove content that could lead to imminent harm given the possible risk to human life as the fires rage on,” Stone said.
Updated 5:30 p.m.
How to help people affected by Santiam Canyon fires
Santiam Hospital’s Service Integration Team has created a relief fund where you can donate to people who have been affected by the fires in Santiam Canyon.
You can donate online at www.santiamhospital.org, or mail donations of money to:
Santiam Canyon Wildfire Relief Fund
c/o Santiam SIT of Santiam Hospital
1401 North 10th Ave
Stayton, OR 97383
If you have donations of clothes, food or other in-kind items, you can drop them off here:
- Sublimity: Service Integration Team (SIT) Mobile. 101 Center Street, Suite A, Sublimity, OR 97385, Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Stayton: Immaculate Conception Church Office (main doors). 1077 N 6th Ave, Stayton, OR 97383. Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Turner: Cascade School District. 10226 Marion Road SE, Turner, OR 97392 from Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
If you need help, you can contact the Service Integration Team by calling or texting 503-409-3652, and by