Rain provides little relief in fighting Oregon wildfires

West

PORTLAND (NewsNation Now) — While rain was a welcome sight for Oregon firefighters fighting the massive wildfires throughout the state, some fire commanders worry that flashing flooding, toppled trees and debris flow could cause more turmoil for an already disaster stricken state.

The fast heavy rains could cause flash flooding and debris flow from the burned areas into other areas, commanders battling the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County said. Gusty winds could topple trees weakened by the blaze over into homes and roads.

“While the rains may help dampen fire growth for a few days, they will continue to present other hazards for our firefighters and communities” said Incident Commander Alan Sinclair. “Please avoid roads near previous fire activity, low-lying areas, and continually check weather alerts to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”   

While rain may help slow the fire, the fire is not expected to stop the flames completely.

The Riverside Fire, burning southeast of Portland, has grown to more than 137,865 acres and is 10% contained. The fire continues to burn in the deep layers of needles on the forest floor, stumps, logs and standing dead trees. The fire started Sept. 8 and officials said it was human-caused.

The rain also caused power outages for several thousand people in Oregon Friday as the thunderstorms rolled through the state.

Several thousand people in Oregon were without power Friday as thunderstorms rolled through the state. NewsNation affiliate KOIN reported that about 5,000 people woke up without power. Due to the heavy rainfall, state officials are temporarily suspending recovery work in the area of one of Oregon’s largest fires east of Eugene Thursday night into Friday.

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

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