Orange haze settles over Oregon counties as wildfires rip through state

West

SANTIAM COUNTY, Ore. (NewsNation Now) — A State of Emergency has been declared for multiple Oregon counties as wildfires prompt evacuations and leave thousands without power throughout the state.

As seen by NewsNation affiliate KOIN, smoke and flames ghost through the air leaving an orange haze throughout Mill City, Oregon. Mill City is located in the northwest part of Oregon and is part of Marion County which is under an evacuation order.

Marion County Sheriff’s Office said all residents who have not evacuated need to leave immediately due to the “significant fire danger.”

MCSO said it’s too dangerous for deputies to go door to door to notify families — and they are asking people to leave their homes if they live in these areas.

“The extreme fire activity in the area poses an imminent danger to anyone who chooses to remain in the evacuated area.  Our deputies are committed to helping keep our community safe; however, conditions have become too dangerous for them to continue with evacuation efforts at this time,” Sheriff Joe Kask said. “I encourage anyone still in the Santiam Canyon to leave immediately following the deputies out of the area.  I cannot say when the conditions will allow deputies and other emergency responders to return to the area to render assistance. Please leave now.”

In Clackamas County, located southeast of Portland, there are four active wildfires in the county.

The four wildfires — Oregon City/Redland and Potter Road; Colton Area/Unger Road; Molalla Area/Wilhoit and Bird Road; and the Beachie Creek Fire resulted in an evacuation of the Job Corps at Ripplebrook in the Mount Hood National Forest — left thousands of people without power.

On Monday night, a blaze in Oregon City that was visible over rooftops started in an abandoned industrial building, according to Clackamas Fire officials.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown approved an emergency conflagration declaration that freed up state resources for several wildfires that exceed the capabilities of local crews. At a news conference, she said initial reports show some blazes may have been caused by downed power lines.

“This is proving to be an unprecedented and significant fire event for our state, and frankly for the entire West Coast,” Brown said.

The Lions Head fire in north-central Oregon and the Santiam Canyon fire east of Salem had burned 200,000 acres so far, Brown said.

Fire officials said their priority is evacuating people and protecting lives. As winds shift and slow Thursday, they hope to take a more “offensive approach” and assess damage.

Authorities evacuated three prisons in Salem due to wildfire threats, sending about 1,400 inmates to the Oregon State Penitentiary.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

NewsNation affiliate KOIN and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

© 1998 - 2020 Nexstar Inc. | All Rights Reserved.