PORTLAND, Ore, (KOIN) — Here are the latest updates surrounding the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County:
Outside resources preparing to withdraw
Fire, law enforcement and disaster management officials held a briefing Wednesday afternoon, discussing progress made against the Riverside Fire and several smaller fires.
The Riverside Fire is now 6% contained, up 3% from the previous day — which incident commander Alan Sinclair said was already a large number for a fire that’s more than 135,000 acres large. Reaching full containment will be a long process, Sinclair said.
However, some of the reinforcements will soon leave the area.
“We’re going to be turning the fire back over to the local resources starting tomorrow afternoon and we’ll withdraw the state resources,” said Ted Kunze with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office on Wednesday.
Kunze said the extra task forces allowed local fire departments to give their crews a break and rehabilitate their equipment.
The Wilhoit Fire, Unger Fire, and Graves Road fire are all 100% lined and crews are continuing mop up operations, as well as removing hazardous trees. The Dowty Fire, which has burned approximately 1,452 acres in the Estacada area, is only 30% lined, but has not moved or grown in the last couple of days, Kunze said.
More Clackamas County evacuation levels lifted, reduced
Thursday afternoon, Officials lifted all evacuation levels for all areas west of Highway 213 and the areas surrounding Oregon City. Areas between Molalla and Scotts Mills, and areas northwest of the Unger Fire, have been lowered to Level 1.
An area northwest of Estacada has been reduced to Level 2.
Areas encompassing the Dowty Fire, Unger Fire, and Riverside Fire remain at Level 3 “Go Now,” and the Mt. Hood National Forest is still closed, according to the sheriff’s office.
See the updated evacuation map here.
Authorities asked people returning home to be cautious and check for the smell of gas right away. If it’s safe, people should inspect their homes, property and outbuildings carefully for any hot spots, embers or fire damage, officials said.
Officials also reiterated their request for Clackamas County residents to conserve water for firefighters by turning off outdoor irrigation systems, taking shorter showers and using a broom, not a hose, to clean patios and sidewalks.
Estacada community ramps up relief efforts
As firefighters gain more control of these blazes, the focus has been turning to help those in need. In Estacada, a 24-hour donation center has been set up at a steakhouse off Highway 211.
Throughout the night, volunteers have been out at the drop-off and pick-up donation site. Since Estacada was lowered to a Level 2 evacuation on Wednesday, many evacuees are returning home. While some were able to go back to a home still standing — others are heartbroken to discover nothing but rubble.
During this time, every little thing help. Evacuees say being able to come here and grab food or much needed supplies gives them one less thing to worry about.
On Wednesday, cars were lined up to drop off donations and feed the cause, donating everything from clothing to meals and even pet food. The Estacada Community Watch Group organized the donation center and says they’ll be out here 24/7 — as long as there is a need.
If you can share your time and energy — the Estacada Community Watch needs your help. If you have some spare change, they are also accepting financial donations.