PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Clackamas County officials expressed optimism during a press conference on Monday afternoon providing updates about wildfires raging in the county.
The Riverside Fire (near Estacada) is currently listed as 134,575 acres and 0% contained. Officials hope to have containment in the next few days, however.
Some evacuation levels were downgraded at 2 pm on Monday:
Level 2 “Set” (Yellow) to Level 1 “Ready” (Green):
- An area south of the cities of Oregon City and Canby, encompassing some portions of the Mulino and Monitor areas.
Level 3 “Go” (Red) to Level 2 “Set” (Yellow):
- An area east of Oregon City encompassing some portions of the Redland, Beavercreek and Highland areas.
- An area south of the city of Sandy, encompassing some portions of the Eagle Creek, Firwood, and Wildcat Mountain areas.
The city of Estacada remains under the Level 3 “Go Now” evacuation zone.
Sheriff Roberts said that increased law enforcement is in the county to protect people’s property. He addressed the video of one of his deputies who was caught on camera over the weekend fueling rumors of anti-fascists starting fires, saying the source was fake.
“I want to reiterate, we have no suspects as of this date associated with any groups,” he said.
When asked about reports of armed vigilantes in the county, Sheriff Roberts said that he hoped any concerns could be put to rest as patrols have been stepped up.
The ODF said the scene is still highly dynamic and urged people to stay out of the area.
While no manned aircrafts are able to fly because of smoke, there are drones up that are monitoring smoke conditions.
Nancy Bush, the Disaster Management Director urged people to only travel if necessary.
“Please take extra care as you travel home. There may be debris on the highway and fallen limbs,” Bush said to folks who have been notified they can return home.
She recommended turning off gas and power while inspecting homes, and to throw out any food that was exposed to smoke and soot.
Wilsonville, Lake Oswego, West Linn, Clackamas, Happy Valley, Gladstone, Tualatin, Milwaukie, and some areas near Boring and Damascus are all back to normal levels. The sheriff’s office is also lifting the curfew for areas under Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation orders.
The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will remain in effect for areas under Level 2 and Level 3 evacuation orders, though.
On Sunday, officials said reinforcements began arriving to battle the Riverside Fire, and Alan Sinclair, SW Incident Management Team #1 Incident Commander, said people should expect to see lines showing containment in the coming days.
“That work started prior to us getting here and I want to make that clear,” Sinclair said, a nod to local fire crews. “Our team’s coming into a situation where we’re having a little bit more favorable weather and things are coming together.”
The current evacuation sites that still have room are the Clackamas Town Center (for RVs) and the Oregon Convention Center. The latter is also accepting pets. Livestock animals can be taken to the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, Columbia County Fairgrounds, Hood River Fairgrounds, Oregon State Fair and Expo Center, St Paul Rodeo Grounds and Yamhill County fairgrounds.
Clackamas County deputies have stepped up their patrols in the impacted areas and evacuated zones. Roberts said with most people gone, anyone who might be up to no good “stands out like a sore thumb” to deputies. Over the past few days, authorities reported there were 31 cases, with 12 suspects named in about 10 cases. There have also been 10 arrests ranging from theft to criminal trespassing.