Oregon Declares Statewide Wildfire Emergency and California Residents Near Ferguson Fire Evacuated

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Substation fire, Oregon. Credit: KGW-TV

The wildfires burning in southwest Oregon showed little signs of slowing Thursday morning, bringing declining air quality and evacuations, reports the Statesman Journal.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide wildfire emergency to make Oregon National Guard (ONG) troops and resources available. Fire teams are battling more than 100 wildfires from Crater Lake to the South Coast.

The weather doesn’t appear to offer much relief, with temperatures remaining in the upper 90s and 100s across the southern half of the state:

“It will be hot and dry again today with winds shifting slightly to the north-northwest in the afternoon,” said Steve Ziel, Fire Behavior Analysist on the Garner Complex. “There will be critically low dry humidity at night and it may be as low as today. Firefighters will experience active fire behavior overnight.”

Air quality has been impacted the past two days, with levels ranging from unhealthy to moderate in the Medford, Grants Pass and Klamath Falls area.

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Ferguson Fire, CA on July 14th, 2018. image: inciweb

The Ferguson Fire in California has burned more than 21,000 acres since it started last Friday and is currently at 7 % containment. The fire is affecting air quality in the Tahoe area and Yosemite National Park, and major access routes in to Yosemite have been closed. Highway 140 is blocked off at El Portal and residents were evacuated yesterday.

“It is incredibly scary,” Sandy McCoy, evacuee. “I have never been evacuated before , this is a big one.”

Authorities in Washington state have closed a section of Interstate 90 because of a fast-moving wildfire pushed by heavy winds. The Washington state Department of Natural Resources says the fire started Thursday afternoon near Kittitas, which is about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. The fire had burned more than 4 square miles (10 square kilometers) as of Thursday evening. The interstate remained closed in both directions between Kittitas and Vantage.

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Wildfire in Kittitas county, WA. Credit: Ellensburg Daily Record

Grant County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sharon Parlmerton says another fire that sparked Thursday southeast of Kittitas prompted mandatory evacuations in the small town of Desert Aire. The Red Cross opened a shelter Thursday evening for evacuees at a junior high school in Mattawa.

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