Officials share safety, health tips with wildfire victims


Officials in Marion and Clackamas counties urged residents to not return to evacuated areas

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Leaders in two Oregon counties hit hard by wildfires answered questions from community members during an online informational session Tuesday night.

As fires in Marion and Clackamas counties continue to rage, officials warned residents once again to not return to evacuated areas. During the virtual question-and-answer session, leaders shared pictures of areas where fire-weakened trees have crashed to the ground.

“Be very careful driving home, there may be rocks and fallen trees and limbs and other debris on driveways and the roadways,” cautioned Clackamas County Disaster Management Director Nancy Bush.

Authorities said road and fire crews are working hard to make evacuated areas safe once more but it will take time.

“There are again over 250 firefighters working around the clock on two operational periods ensuring that the community is safe and continuing to patrol and mop up those hot spots as we move to full containment,” said Capt. Brandon Paxton with the Clackamas Fire District.

Officials said there are safety measures people need to take once it’s safe to return home.

“Before inspecting your home, check for the smell of gas, turn off power until you have completed this inspection,” said Bush. “And if you smell gas, you need to call the gas company immediately.”

Another task that should be at the top of a person’s list? Checking for hot embers. Bush said to look for them “in the rain gutters, piles of wood, compost or shavings, on the roof, under overhangs and all other parts of your property.”

Caring for mental health should also be a priority. Clackamas County Behavioral Health has created so-called “go teams” of professionals who are trained in psychological first aid.

“We know these are trying times and we want you to know we’re here for you and you’re not alone,” said Bush. “Go teams go out into the community to meet people where they’re at and provide them with a listening ear and referrals to services.”

People in need can also call the Clackamas Mental Health Center at 503.722.6200. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

24/7 crisis and support line: 503.655.8585

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