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State of Oregon Offering Evacuation Actions and Resources

Over the past few months, fire agencies have issued public advisories detailing how property owners can take preventive actions before the wildfire season begins and how firefighters are preparing for the season.

(TNS) - As the temperatures warm up, summer approaches, and Oregon continues to deal with extreme drought, local and state fire agencies are bracing for an intense wildfire season.

Over the past few months, fire agencies in Columbia County have issued public advisories detailing how property owners can take preventive actions before the wildfire season begins and how local firefighters are preparing for the season.

"In the past we normally did not see any natural cover/wildfires in our district until late May or early June," Columbia River Fire & Rescue Division Chief of Operations Eric Smythe told The Chronicle in a published report in March. "Over the last several years we have seen fires in March and April. This is outside the normal fire season, so we are adjusting our responses and equipment staffing to meet the earlier starts to our wildland season."

The Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is now offering what it describes as simple actions and resources all Oregonians can take to stay safe during wildfire season.

The actions include evacuation best practices. OEM is encouraging everyone to know Oregon's three-level evacuation system:

  • Be Ready.
  • Be Set.
  • Go Now!

"With impacts ranging from the tragic loss of lives, homes and businesses, to safely evacuating when threatened by wildfire, to poor air quality caused by smoke, as well as road and trail closures—most Oregonians are all too familiar with our state's steady increase in wildfire activity over the past decade," OEM Director Andrew Phelps said.

Wildfire Awareness Month is a time when state agencies and partners come together to ensure the public has access to resources to prepare for wildfires while supporting those still recovering from previous events, according to the OEM.

"Our shared goal is to help Oregonians plan so they know what to do before, during and after a wildfire and take actions to keep themselves and their communities safe," Phelps said. "Evacuation readiness is a key component to staying safe when wildfires strike."

Oregon's evacuation notification system is structured around the readiness need and threat level, broken down into three tiers.

Level One, coded green, means BE READY to evacuate.

Older adults, families with children, people with disabilities, livestock and pet owners, and those with limited access to transportation should consider evacuating at Level One. This is also a good time to check with neighbors and share information. Oregonians should be aware of fire risk in their area, stay informed, and actively take steps to prepare themselves to reduce their risk from wildfire, including:

  • Signing up for local emergency alerts at
  • Enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones.
  • Having a family emergency plan.
  • Assembling a disaster supply kit.
  • Making a plan for shelter, including animals.
  • Mapping out evacuation routes.

Level Two, coded yellow, means BE SET to evacuate.

There is significant danger in the area and people should be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Voluntary evacuation at Level Two is recommended, especially if people need extra time or have livestock. Individuals should:

  • Continue to stay informed and alert, checking for updates through local city and county websites, social media, TV and radio.
  • Use or call 511 for road closure information.
  • Consider relocating to a safe place outside of the affected area.
  • Inform loved ones of plans and destinations.

Level Three, coded red, means GO NOW — Leave Immediately!

  • Level three indicates there is extreme danger in the area and remaining threatens the safety of individuals as well as emergency responders, who may not be available to help those who choose to stay. Do not stop to gather belongings or protect the home. Now is the time to act:
  • Grab the go-kit.
  • Follow the emergency plan.
  • Leave as fast as safely possible.
  • Upon evacuating, drive carefully; turn on headlights and follow traffic safety warnings and instructions from local authorities.

OEM urges Oregonians to evacuate any time they feel unsafe, as conditions can change rapidly. Individuals should always make the best decision for their safety. OEM states that following an evacuation, people should not return to the area until public safety officials announce it is safe.

"OEM is supporting our local partners in providing equitable and accessible information to help everyone do their part to proactively address existing vulnerabilities and take actions to reduce risk," Phelps said. "We encourage all Oregonians to connect with their local community. Knowing what to do when receiving an evacuation notification will help individuals and communities stay safe when faced with the threat of wildfire or other disaster."

©2022 The World, Coos Bay, Ore., Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.