Gov. issues emergency declaration over wildfire threat

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has declared a state of emergency because of the imminent threat of wildfires across the state.

Brown said Wednesday much of the state is in high or extreme fire danger with red flag warnings in effect, KOIN reported.

In the past week, a historic heatwave rolled through the Pacific Northwest, bringing high temperatures and worsening already dry conditions. There is no rain in the extended forecast.

Nineteen Oregon counties are already in declared drought emergencies.

“Oregon is still recovering from the devastation of last year’s wildfires, which resulted in nine Oregonians losing their lives and thousands more losing their homes,” Brown said. “I issued this emergency declaration to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts and to the crews striving to protect our state.”

She said with fire seasons increasingly starting earlier and lasting longer, it is up to everyone to do their part to prevent human-caused wildfires and be prepared for fires if they occur.

The emergency declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Office of the State Fire Marsha to use personnel, equipment and facilities from other state agencies for wildfire emergencies.

It also allows agencies to temporarily suspend any rules that impair the response to wildfires and to request assistance from other states.

This declaration comes as a fire south of The Dalles near Dufur has grown to about 10,000 acres, according to officials.