MORO, OR – Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought winds gusting to 35-40 mph, making it a very tough day for firefighters.
The winds blew out the south end of the fire near Deschutes river canyon further damaging agricultural and wildland areas. Bucket helos and air tankers, along with dozers on the ground, helped to bolster firefighters resolve to push for containment of the blaze.
The Substation Fire is now designated the number one wildland fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon. The Pacific Northwest incident management team added greater depth to the operational forces who will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. Meanwhile, 217 firefighters representing 73 firefighting agencies are battling the blaze.
The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18th. Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, equipped with water buckets, are joining in the fight.
Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant.
Evacuation levels have gone back and forth. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco and Sherman County Sheriff’s Offices to continually evaluate the risk to life and property. Level 3 (“Go”) evacuations continue to be in place for Moro and Grass Valley. The communities of Wasco and Kent remain under Level 2 evacuation. Area residents are urged to heed local emergency notifications as well as check the local sheriff’s office Facebook page and the Substation Fire Facebook page (www.facebook.com/substationfire2018) for updates.
Segments 3 and 4 of the lower Deschutes River remain closed.
The American Red Cross shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St remains available to residents impacted by the fire. In addition to sleeping accommodations, the shelter is providing meals, community updates, and a cool place to get out of the heat and smokey conditions.
Locally, smoke is in the moderate to unhealthy range. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, chronic respiratory disease or cardio vascular disease, are encouraged to avoid smoke exposure, reduce time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during smoky conditions.