PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — During a week of devastation and uncertainty due to multiple wildfires in the area, thousands of residents in Marion County have been forced to flee their homes.
As the Beachie Creek Fire swallows nearly 200,000 acres of land, almost 17,000 homes and businesses remain under Level 3 evacuation notices in Marion County. Numerous evacuees remain at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, and for many, it’s been a grueling wait to find out if they still have a home.
At 1 p.m., the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said evacuation levels for portions of the Mehama and Lyons communities were downgraded to “Level 2”:
LEVEL 3 “GO”: Detroit, Idanha, Breitenbush, Mill City, Gates, North Fork Road north of Highway 22, Highway 22 east of Highway 226.
LEVEL 2 “BE SET”: Lyons, Mehama west of Highway 226, Fernridge Road west of Shellburg Creek Road to Basil Hill, Scotts Mills, Crooked Finger Rd and Moss Lane
LEVEL 1 “GET READY”: Areas east of Meridian Rd, Davis Creek and Victor Point south to the Marion County line
Also, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office identified 2 Lyons residents who died in the fires: Cathy Cook, 71, and 41-year-old Justin Cook. They were found near their property in the 32000 block of North Fork Lane in Lyons, officials said.
Beachie Creek Fire
Now at 15% containment, the Beachie Creek Fire has devoured 190,911 acres about six miles north of Detroit. However, the growth in acreage from the previous day is not due to any fire spread, but because an aerial assessment gave a more accurate mapping.
Firefighters tackling the Beachie Creek Fire are working to further secure its perimeter Tuesday while the neighboring Riverside Fire remained about a mile away.
Officials said the combination of winds, dry forests, and terrain means it is still possible for the two fires to merge — however, they say based on current weather, a future merger would not likely result in “dynamic fire behavior as seen last week.”
The Beachie Creek Fire has been burning since August 16, several weeks before the wave of multiple wildfires swallowed Oregon over the Labor Day weekend. The fire has claimed the lives of at least four people with 10 people still missing.
The Lionshead Fire
The Lionshead Fire continues to grow and is now listed at 168,097 acres with 5% containment.
Firefighters will continue strengthening containment lines to the east of the lightning-caused fire. Officials say Monday was a very successful and active day around the perimeter but Tuesday is expected to stay just as busy.
They will reevaluate evacuation levels as the containment further progresses.
Due to the danger from falling trees, rock slides, and continued roadway hazards along Highway 22, access to the Level 3 evacuation zone for animal removal and feeding has been suspended.
Some evacuation orders downgraded
Scotts Mills and areas surrounding the town were downgraded from a Level 3 to a Level 2 evacuation order—effective 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Stayton, Sublimity, Aumsville, Silverton and Mt. Angel were lowered to Level 1 “Get Set” Saturday, according to fire officials.
Towns still under Level 3 “Go Now” evacuations are Detroit, Idanha, Breitenbush, Lyons, Mehama, Mill City, Gates, North Fork Rd recreation area.
A current list of evacuations can be found here.
Due to roadway hazards such as falling trees and rock slides along Highway 22, access to the Level 3 evacuation zone for animal removal and feeding has been suspended. Officials met on Monday to discuss how residents could safely feed and care for their animals, but no plan has been finalized.
While law enforcement is still limiting access to the Santiam Canyon, Detroit and Idanha residents can request a check on their property by calling 503.798.6823 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day of the week. They should provide the following information when they call: Name, address, phone number, information about anyone missing from the location, and any animals at the location.
To report a family member missing, please contact the non-emergency dispatch at 503.588.5032. As of Sunday morning, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said they have five people who have been reported as missing.