Check back for live updates throughout Monday
PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Although weather conditions have improved dramatically since last week for wildfire crews battling infernos across Oregon, air quality levels remain hazardous for much of the state.
Air quality levels are expected to start improving as much-needed rain arrives in the region Monday evening.
Devastating wildfires have torched nearly 1 million acres since last week, killing at least 10 and forcing tens of thousands of Oregonians to flee from their homes and hundreds of thousands to prepare to leave their property.
However, Sunday saw some good news as evacuation zones were reduced for several of the major wildfires, including evacuation zones in Clackamas County, Marion County and Washington County.
Emergency conflagration for Brattain Fire
Governor Kate Brown approved an emergency conflagration declaration for the Brattain Fire near Paisley in Lake County.
“The situation remains very dangerous in Paisley,” said Brown. “Wind continues to fuel these wildfires, with devastating consequences across the region. People’s homes, lives, land, and safety are at risk. If you’re in the evacuation zone, please stay vigilant. Pay close attention and listen to local calls to evacuate as needed — this can save your life, your family and the lives of our firefighters.”
Alaska Airlines suspends flights at PDX
On Monday, Alaska Airlines temporarily suspended all flights to and from the Portland International Airport due to the smoke and hazardous air quality. The suspensions are expected to last until 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 15.
Marion County modifies evacuation levels
Nearly 17,000 homes and businesses remain under Level 3 evacuation notices in Marion County. Many evacuees remain at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.
Marion County officials also modified the evacuation levels for the people affected by the Beachie Creek Fire. Marion County evacuation levels at 4 pm Monday
Gov. Brown confirms 10 wildfire-related deaths, warns of more
Speaking during a press conference on Monday afternoon, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown confirmed that 10 deaths are related to the wildland infernos that have devastated the state, and added the number would rise as local medical examiners continue to report additional fatalities. The Office of Emergency Management will begin to release statewide totals, Brown said.
“I am at a loss for words over these deaths,” she said.
Brown also said she wrote to President Donald Trump asking he declare a “major disaster” in the state.
During the press conference, officials also clarified there were at least 22 other Oregonians missing at this time.
PSU opens doors to evacuees
Portland State University announced it is offering free rooms for those in the school’s extended family displaced by the wildfires.
Students, employees and their families who have been evacuated can claim a free room at PSU’s University Place Hotel. The stay includes complimentary parking, waived pet fees and a daily hot breakfast.
The school said evacuees can stay at the hotel for up to two weeks as needed.
For more information, contact Antionio Recillas, University Place General Manager at 503-707-9985.
The Red Cross statistics
The Oregon and Southwest Washington Red Cross tweeted statistics of the help provided to some of the evacuees. As of Monday, the Red Cross said they provided 2026 shelter stays; 2429 hotel stays; 19,501 meals served; and 1054 safe and well registrations.
For those who need help, call 1.800.RED.CROSS (that is 1.800.733.2767)
Holiday Farm Fire in Linn County
As of Monday morning, the Holiday Farm Fire has grown to 166,573 acres and is at 6% containment, according to the authorities. It is currently threatening over 23,000 structures.
The evacuation levels for residents on Camp Creek, Upper Camp Creek, McKenzie Highway between Cedar Flats and Camp Creek have been downgraded from Level 3 to Level 2 while the evacuation level for Deerhorn Road remains at Level 3.
Officials say that while Level 2 evacuations mean residents can return to their homes, it is of the utmost importance to stay vigilant and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice if changes in fire conditions occur.
Riverside Fire in Clackamas County
Clackamas County fire officials will hold a 3 p.m press conference Monday with updates on the battles against the wildfires raging in the county, including the Riverside Fire.
The Riverside Fire (near Estacada) is currently listed as 133,799 acres and 0% contained.
KOIN.com will live stream this press conference. KOIN 6 News will also carry it live.
The Lionshead Fire
The Lionshead Fire continues to grow and is now listed at 148,682 acres. A containment line is holding on the southern edge. Fire crews will check the progress to the northeast on Monday and will continue to secure a spot in the northwest between the 46 Road and the powerline corridor north of Breitenbush. Firefighters will continue strengthening containment lines to the east of the fire.
Big Hollow Fire
Officials working to contain the Big Hollow Fire in Southwest Washington said a reduction in the layer of smoke at higher elevations resulted in higher temperatures and drier weather over the weekend.
As of Monday morning, the fire grew to 20,805 acres and is now 10% contained.
The 42 cabins at Government Mineral Springs are currently under a Level 3 evacuation.
‘NO ONE should be outside’: MultCo health officials
Hazardous air quality continues to be a major issue in the Portland metro area and across the Willamette Valley on Monday, and Multnomah County health officials are imploring employers and workers to not work outside.
KOIN 6 News meteorologists are tracking a weather system that will bring some relief from smoky conditions for the Oregon Coast and northern Willamette Valley; however, smoke and poor air quality will remain an issue throughout the entire week as wildfires continue to burn.
Click here for our interactive map on air quality in Oregon.
Firefighters tackling the Beachie Creek Fire are slated to secure its perimeter Monday while the neighboring Riverside Fire remains about a mile away.
Officials said the combination of winds, dry forests, and terrain means it is still possible for the fires to merge, but the joining of fires would not be significant given the forecast of wet weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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.
KOIN 6 News Viewer shares devastation near Gates home
KOIN 6 News viewer Kayla Budlong shared video of the destruction left by wildfires near her home in Gates. Six homes on her street survived the inferno, which left scorched earth surrounding it.
More downgrades to Echo Mountain Fire
The area in and around the Echo Mountain Fire Complex remains in a Level 3 evacuation area. But officials overseeing the fire downgraded these areas to Level 2:
- East of Rose Lodge on Hwy 18
- South of Hwy 18 from Rose Lodge to East Devils Lake Road
- Hwy 18 road closure remains; however, the roadblock will be moved West to Rose Lodge at N. North Bank Road and Hwy 18.
- If you live on Bear Creek Road or a road off of Bear Creek Road, you will be let through the ODOT East Highway 18 roadblock to access Bear Creek Road.
Officials: Idanha is safe, heavy losses in Detroit
Firefighters in Idanha say as far as they know, no structures have been lost in the town — however, they say the town of Detroit has experienced heavy losses.
According to officials, only 20-25 structures are still standing in Detroit — the rest are gone. Firefighters say they’ve been doing everything they can do push back the fire in the area. Fires are still actively burning in the town, but the crew’s primary focus is protecting the structures that are still standing.
Back in Idanha, homes on McCoy are reportedly safe, as well as the homes near Rushing River Retreat. There is no update on the Stahlman cabins or the Santiam Sportsman’s Club on Blowout Road.
One homeowner in the area spoke to KOIN 6 News as they were assessing the damage.
“I feel guilty that my place made it and their’s didn’t,” they said. “There are homes that have been in this canyon for a hundred years plus that are gone now.”
According to the Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District, several firefighters have lost their own homes in the area as they continue to battle the raging fires.
Air Quality: Air quality levels, which were hazardous over the weekend, are expected to remain at unhealthy levels for much of Monday
INTERACTIVE MAP: Air quality conditions in Oregon
Wildfires: Officials said there are 36 wildfires burning in the state
Wildfires in Oregon: Names, locations, size, containment
Evacuations: More than 40,000 have fled their homes, and more than 500,000 were in evacuation zones at some point in the last week.
MAPS: Wildfires, evacuation zones in Oregon
Shelters: Shelters are set up around the state, including some that take livestock
LIST: Temporary shelters as wildfires rip through Oregon