(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today declared a state of emergency due to the imminent threat of wildfire across Oregon. Much of the state is now in extreme fire danger, and red flag warnings have been issued for hot, dry, windy conditions and dry thunderstorms.
Oregon has experienced wildfires this season that have resulted in evacuations, threatened critical infrastructure, and destroyed homes and other structures. The extended forecast in Oregon calls for continued warm and dry conditions, resulting in the imminent threat of fire over a broad area of the state. Furthermore, Oregon continues to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, which adds complexity to wildland firefighting and operations to protect the health and safety of firefighters and Oregonians whose homes or businesses may be threatened by wildfire.
“The wildfire season has escalated in Oregon this summer, and fire crews are working in extreme temperatures to keep homes and resources safe during this pandemic,” Governor Kate Brown said. “Given drought conditions and hotter than usual temperatures, Oregonians should be prepared for an intense wildfire season this summer. I’m committed to making state resources available to ensure crews have the resources they need on the ground and across the state. I urge the public to use extreme caution and be mindful of fire restrictions to protect the beauty and bounty of our state.”
Pursuant to ORS 401.165 et seq, Governor Brown determined that a threat to life, safety, and property exists due to the imminent threat of wildfire. The Governor’s declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marshal, in coordination with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, to utilize personnel, equipment and facilities from other state agencies in order to respond to or mitigate the effects of the wildfire emergency.
The Oregon National Guard will deploy firefighting resources as needed and in accordance with Operations Agreement Smokey 2020 throughout the remainder of the fire season based upon threat and resource shortfalls. The Oregon Health Authority will continue to provide guidance and assist with mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at wildland fire facilities and camps, emergency shelters, and evacuation centers.