PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of people have been told to leave their homes as wildfires ravage Clackamas County.
County commissioners declared a state of emergency as four wildfires burn: the Dowdy Fire, the Riverside Fire, the Unger Fire and the Wilhoit Fire.
Nancy Bush, the director of Disaster Management in Clackamas County, said over a dozen evacuation noticed were issued throughout the day. The entire county was under Level 1 “Get Ready” orders late Tuesday night. Level 3 evacuations have been issued for the area south of Highway 211 between Estacada and Woodburn. Officials said between 1,500-2,000 homes had been evacuated.
The Red Cross helped set up two temporary evacuation points: Clackamas Community College on OR-213 in Oregon City and Sandy High School. The Clackamas County Fairgrounds is sheltering animals belonging to people who have been evacuated.
Officials also closed the Mount Hood National Forest to public access. Campgrounds, day use areas, boat ramps and trails are among the temporary closures. Forest roads are closed to visitors.
Declaring a state of emergency lets Clackamas County officials ask for resources, evacuate people, barricade roads and redirect money for emergency use.
A reverse 911 was activated due to the blaze near South Unger and Bauer roads, alerting residents living in the area to leave their homes in the middle of the night.
Around 6 a.m., 40,000 PGE customers in Clackamas County were without power. By 2 p.m. that number was aboutu 27,000.
There are firefighters from Colton, Canby and Gresham helping battle the flames.
On Monday night, a blaze in Oregon City that was visible over rooftops started in an abandoned industrial building, according to Clackamas Fire officials.
The exact cause of the fire is unknown at this time, but it started in an abandoned building off of Agnes Avenue near the Clackamette Cove. From there, it spread to three other structures and then the surrounding land before firefighters were able to get the blaze contained. In total, four buildings were damaged and 12 acres were burned in Oregon City.
Fire officials said no evacuations were needed in relation to the fire.
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