More than half million evacuated due to Oregon wildfires
Over 100,000 acres burned
More than a half million people have been evacuated due to Oregon wildfires. This represents over 10 percent of the state’s entire population of 4.2 million.
At least 3 people have been killed by the fires as hundreds of thousands are forced to flee from their homes. Air quality is poor in many places, and power outages are occurring in many areas.
Over 800 square miles of land have been burned with around 3,000 firefighters fighting the 37 wildfires raging today. More than 100,000 acres are being scorched by 5 fires with only 1 percent being contained.
Almost all of Oregon’s major population areas from Ashland to Portland along Interstate 5 are being affected. There are 2 fires in the counties of Clackamas and Marion that authorities anticipate will merge, causing residents of Molalla and Estacada to be evacuated. Portland is on alert for potential evacuation. The threat from these 2 fires prompted state officials to evacuate Coffee Creek Correctional Facility, where the state houses all women in custody and processes all inmates entering the corrections system.
So far no part of Multnomah County has had to be evacuated, however, Mayor Ted Wheeler ordered the city’s parks closed because of the poor air quality, and county officials are working to open up the Oregon Convention Center in Portland as a shelter for people fleeing from Clackamas County.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a statewide emergency and said the state will likely experience the greatest loss of property and lives from wildfires in its history saying the state is experiencing its most extreme fire conditions in 3 decades. Dry conditions and low relative humidity are contributing to the wildfires along with rare summertime east winds, climate change, and forest fuel buildup.
Governor Brown issued an executive order today to crack down on price gouging during the statewide wildfire emergency. She declared an “abnormal market disruption” after reports showed an unusual increase in lodging rates for Oregonians forced to evacuate due to fires across the state. Brown said there are also concerns that the wildfires may lead to a shortage of other essential goods and services.
“During a statewide emergency, it is absolutely unacceptable to price gouge Oregonians who have already been hard hit and are facing devastating loss,” the Governor said. “This order empowers the Attorney General and the Oregon Department of Justice to investigate these instances.”