PORTLAND, Ore. (KATU) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown provided a wildfire update on Thursday after three days of dangerous wildfires have burned throughout the state.
“We are now approaching over 900,000 acres burned across the state," Brown said. "To put that in perspective, in the last 10 years, we see an average of 500,000 acres burn in an entire year. We've seen that nearly double in the past three days.”
Brown, who was joined by fire officials and health authority officials and emergency management experts, said that the state has never seen this amount of uncontained fire.
As of Thursday, approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Oregonians have evacuated so far, the governor said, and evacuations are ongoing.
While wind dynamics are changing later in the week, weather experts don't think we are getting a repreive just yet. As winds are no longer an issue, we are now facing unstable air conditions. Gov. Brown said on Thursday that these conditions continue to make response efforts very, very difficult.
"This will not be a one-time event," the governor said, noting the wildfires all over the west coast. "We are feeling the acute impacts of climate change"
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management says there are more than 480 active wildfires burning across Oregon.
The governor also invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act on Tuesday afternoon, and today noted that she had secured strike teams coming in from Utah to help with suppression efforts.
She says as the days go on, the state hopes to shift from evacuation efforts to suppressing the fires.
Doug Grafe, the chief of fire protection at ODF says that the greatest fire activity that has been seen on Thursday comes from the Riverside Fire that has now pushed into the communities in Estacada.
The Riverside Fire has currently burned 120,000 acres two miles outside of Estacada. There are currently 100 total personnel fighting the fire.
Chief Grafe said crews are hoping for the weather to cooperate as the wind event has ended and for Thursday to be the first evening without an aggressive push in the fires.