(Update: Fire burned about 700 acres; mop-up underway)
HERMISTON, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Umatilla County Sheriff's Office on Monday dropped Level 3 "Go Now" evacuation orders near the Bensel Fire that broke out Sunday in Hermiston, prompting Gov. Tina Kotek to invoke the Emergency Conflagration Act, allowing the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighter task forces from around the state to protect life and property.
Earlier Sunday, the OSFM mobilized fire boss air tankers and a helicopter to support firefighting efforts. The OSFM resources will provide structure protection for homes near the Bensel Fire.
Level 1, 2, and 3 evacuation orders were put in place through the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office for homes threatened by the fire, but all areas were reduced to Level 2 or 1 Monday morning; more information, including evacuation details and maps, is available at their Facebook page.
Officials announced Monday evening the fire burned 699 acres and that work was underway to mop up any hot spots.
With the declared conflagration, OSFM mobilized structural firefighters, equipment and the Green Incident Management Team.
"Although portions of Oregon are receiving rain, this is a stark reminder that we are not out of wildfire season yet," said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. "We are asking the people of Oregon to help prevent human-caused fires by remaining wildfire aware.”
In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that the fire poses a threat to life, safety, and property, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The governor's declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources in battling the fire and further support a coordinated response.
The OSFM's Green Incident Management Team was briefed and assume unified command of the Bensel Fire at 8 a.m. on Monday. The structural task forces came from counties throughout Oregon through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System.