Riverside Fire: Evacuations downgraded for some Clackamas County towns

Wildfires

Estacada, Molalla remain under Level 3 "Go Now" evacuation orders

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Evacuation orders for three Clackamas County towns were downgraded Saturday evening as crews continued to battle the Riverside Fire.

Effective immediately, Canby, Oregon City, and Sandy have been downgraded from a Level 2 to a Level 1 “Be Ready” evacuation order, according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.

There are no reductions to Level 3 areas at this time, said authorities.

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Clackamas County officials have urged residents to be prepared to evacuate throughout the region as the human-caused Riverside Fire continues to grow beyond 130,000 acres.

Both Estacada and Molalla remain under Level 3 “Go Now.”

Clackamas County residents still under the Level 1 and 2 orders have been asked to still leave the roads open for Level 3 evacuees. Fire crews have also cautioned anyone in the area to refrain from using water—or significantly limiting usage—in their homes in order to ensure firefighters do not run out of water while battling the wildfires.

Overnight, the Riverside Fire grew by roughly 2,500 acres. As of Saturday afternoon, fire officials said the wildfire was at 132,545 acres with containment at 0%. So far, 33 homes have been destroyed and thousands more are still threatened.

Clackamas Fire Captain Brandon Paxton. September 12, 2020 (KOIN)

Thick smoke prevented helicopters and air tankers from helping crews on the ground for a third day in a row.

“With that reduced visibility, we don’t have the opportunity to get really solid intel and get eyes on the fire,” said Clackamas County Fire Captain Brandon Paxton. “It reduces the ability for aerial assets to fly and get good information back to our incident commanders, so that’s been a challenge for us.”

There are three other fires in Clackamas County that have burned a combined 5,000 acres so far. Officials said it was still too dangerous for crews to go back and assess the damage, so it is unknown how many homes have been lost.

Full evacuation map here

Updated map of the Riverside Fire as of 1:14 p.m. Sept. 12, 2020. (Courtesy: Mt Hood National Forest)

Clackamas fire officials announced Level 3 evacuation orders for Molalla just before 1 p.m. Thursday; the evacuation orders also included west to Highway 213 in the Molalla area and north to Henrici Road.

Residents of Canby, Sandy and Oregon City have also been put on alert with Level 2 “Be Set” evacuation orders. Officials encouraged Sandy residents to consider evacuating to ease potential congestion if the town goes to Level 3.

Fire officials recommend having an evacuation plan in place, even if you’re under a Level 1 order. If you live in a Level 2 evacuation zone, you’re asked to not use your sprinklers to protect your home to conserve water for firefighters.

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.

Deputies imposed a curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Thursday for the county. That curfew remains in effect until further notice.

“No persons other than those working in life- and property-saving activities (or civilian employees at night-shift jobs) may be upon the streets or public places,” said CCSO. “The curfew does not apply to first responders and community members working to relocate during the wildfire evacuations.”

Full list of Clackamas County check-in sites

Latest map from Clackamas County authorities

Wildfire information from the State of Oregon

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