Photo: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
As firefighters continue to battle widespread wildfires that have burned more than one million acres, emergency responders are working around the clock with a focus on saving lives.
Throughout the week, evacuation levels have been changing by the hour as a result of the dynamic fire conditions. Evacuation areas expanded on Thursday afternoon, affecting tens of thousands of people. By late in the afternoon, the number of Oregonians under some level of evacuation notice had jumped to an estimated 500,000, with notices affecting the more densely populated Clackamas County and including additional notices across Oregon.
The statement provided by the Office of Emergency Management of 500,000 evacuated was referenced incorrectly. As Governor Brown stated in her press conference today, 500,000 Oregonians are under an evacuation notice (Level 1, 2 or 3) and more than 40,000 have evacuated. With the rapidly changing situation, all efforts are made to provide accurate and timely information to best inform response efforts and those seeking safety. OEM is working directly with the Red Cross, FEMA, local counties and law enforcement, as well as incident management teams to coordinate and align these crucial information efforts.
“We fully recognize the importance of this information to Oregonians – for response and for planning efforts, and for those seeking safe shelter,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “We are committed to getting it right.”
OEM urges the public to update information on their status with the Red Cross, seek shelter and stay informed. As with all disasters, evacuated Oregonians are sheltering with friends and family, with many choosing to stay in vehicles. Let loved ones know you are safe at the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. State emergency managers encourage people affected by the fires, whether or not they have evacuated, to register on the site. It is a helpful tool that can bring relief to people looking for loved ones during these fires, and help inform search efforts.
More information will be shared as soon as it is verified and available. We recognize the uncertainty and anxiety Oregonians are feeling at this time and that people need timely and accurate information. Thank you for your understanding and support as we work to keep you informed.
Members of the public who are seeking additional information, dial 211 or 1-866-698-6155, also reachable by texting your zip code to 898211 (TXT211).
Source: Oregon Office of Emergency Management