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Beachie Creek Fire at 182,000 acres; roads being reopened into areas of heavy damage

Beachie Creek Fire 99
Beachie Creek Fire flames glow

Move to 'Santiam Fire' name reversed, will remain Beachie Creek

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Here is Thursday morning's update on the now-182,000-acre Beachie Creek Fire that tore through the Santiam Canyon earlier this week, causing heavy damage in several communities.

  Start date: Aug, 16, 2020Location: Santiam Canyon west of Detroit, OR, Southern Clackamas County  Cause: Unknown
  Fire size: 182,000 Acres  Air Assets Assigned: 5Total personnel: 423

Beachie Creek Fire Update for Thursday September 10, 2020

Salem, Ore. – Fire Operations continue to be in rescue mode; however, firefighters made significant progress yesterday in opening roadways for emergency personnel. This has created critical access for crews to affect rescues and for trapped citizens to evacuate. Additionally, as fire crews and law enforcement officers patrol the interior of the fire we gain critical intelligence on the extent of destruction.

The cities of Mill City, Gates, Lyons, Mehama, Detroit and other areas along Hwy 22 have seen significant damage. The fire has destroyed multiple buildings along the Santiam Canyon.

Fire managers have now determined that at least 13 new fires were started between Detroit and Mehama from downed power lines during the peak of Monday’s wind event -- and then on Tuesday, a large front of wind-driven fire ran through the city of Detroit from the east.

Local fire departments along the Highway 22 corridor and along the northern flanks of the fire continue to respond to 911 calls for rescues and new fires. Firefighters also continued their rescue operations in the North Fork Area and along the northern and western perimeter areas of the fire.

Fire crews are working in close coordination with ODOT, Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to create road access, effect rescues and assess the extent of damage. Evacuation notices are being coordinated by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, who are working to identify victims and notify next of kin.

Rescue operations have been extensive and wide-ranging. Rescues have varied widely, in some cases individuals were impeded by downed trees and roadway blockages, while others escaped the heavy smoke, high heat and flames by moving to local waterways. Individuals found with injuries were transported to local hospitals for further care and assessment.

Currently 9,764 structures are at Level 3 evacuations and another 11,941 homes are under in level 2 evacuations.

For the safety of first responders, fire officials want to stress how important it is that the public stay out of the fire perimeter. There are many fallen trees, hanging snags and power lines impeding roadways and it is not safe to access these areas.

Fire is a dynamic situation and a rapidly evolving incident. For better accounting of fire resources assigned, the name has been updated to reflect the original assignment. The name of the fire will be referred to as the Beachie Creek Fire.

WEATHER: Red Flag Warnings have been extended through 8 AM PDT Thursday due to the continuation of dry and windy conditions in these areas tonight. Winds should begin to fall below critical thresholds elsewhere. Dry and possibly unstable conditions are expected today. Onshore flow returns by Friday and continues through the weekend and into next week.

SAFETY: Members of the public are encouraged to heed local evacuation orders issued by the county sheriff’s office and emergency notification systems. Any public trying to access the area are asked to stay away to keep roads clear for those evacuating and for emergency vehicles. The roads are extremely hazardous due to falling debris, smoke and emergency vehicle traffic. Members of the public in the immediate area are asked to keep the Ready, Set, Go levels of evacuation in mind. READY your belongings; SET your things at the door or prepack them in your car; GO Leave immediately.

SMOKE: Smoke is expected to remain heavy throughout the area for the next several days. Individuals with respiratory issues may find themselves affected by the intense smoke. Smoke levels are fluctuating between unhealthy for sensitive groups (orange) and hazardous (maroon) in these areas. Areas closest to fires - near Detroit, Florence, Chiloquin and Eugene are having the worst smoke impacts. Smoke levels can change rapidly depending on weather. Check current conditions on DEQ's Air Quality Index or by downloading the free OregonAIR app on your smartphone.

CLOSURES: Willamette National Forest roads, trails, and lands around the fire area are closed. View the official order (Order 06-18-04-20-13) or go to InciWeb (link below) for a list and map of the closed roads, trails, and recreation sites.

Public information:
E-mail: Phone: 541-583-0526, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
InciWeb   Oregon Smoke Blog
Article Topic Follows: Fire Alert

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