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Oregon Wildfires

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Thousands of Oregonians were evacuated from their homes Tuesday, as conditions led to a spate of surging wildfires state officials said is unprecedented in modern memory.

With strong westward gusts pushing established fires over the crest of the Cascades, and setting off still more fires, officials said they were so focused on protecting lives and property that suppressing the blazes consuming hundreds of thousands of acres would have to wait.

“Our number one priority is evacuation and basic life safety,” said Mariana Ruiz-Temple, chief deputy state fire marshal. “This wind event does not give us the opportunity to really get in there and fight fire how we might fight fire in previous events.”

The gusts that began Monday gave new life to fires that had burned in central and eastern Marion County for weeks, eventually creating what officials are calling the Santiam Fire. It swept quickly down the canyons west of the cascades on Monday and Tuesday prompting evacuations in a swath of communities east of Salem.

Meanwhile intensifying fires east of Eugene, near Ashland and along the coast also demanded attention and prompted evacuation orders in towns and state prisons. The Mt. Hood National Forest has been shut down to the public until further notice.

https://www.opb.org/article/2020/09/08/evacuations-along-highway-22-as-oregon-fires-spread-quickly-monday-night/

I have a niece who works at an ALF in Medford, about 15 miles northwest of Ashland. About 40 minutes ago they were issued a level 2 alert and informed that the ALF would be next on the evacuation list. Her husband and pets have already been evacuated from their home in Prospect. She cannot get back there because they have closed highway 62 between Medford and Prospect. 

 

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Pictures taken by my niece from her vehicle. From late last night or early this morning pacific coast time.

fire1.jpg

fire2.jpg

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As of today, most of Talent, a city in Oregon about the size of Corbin, has been destroyed by the fires. Parts of Medford and Ashland have also been burnt to the ground. 

My niece was able to return to work last weekend. My understanding is that she has to be tested weekly for the exposure to COVID. When they did the test last Saturday, the swab they stuck up her nose came out black with soot. 

13 photos that show how bad Oregon wildfires and air quality really are.

 

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How bad is the death toll for these fires?

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Last I heard, 9 had died, but that was when the fires were still ablaze. They were able to get most people to safety. Even those in Trent. 

 

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