Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Daily Digest September 8, 2020


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Heavy smoke from fires up and down the West Coast is creating hazardous driving conditions in Oregon.

For those who aren't evacuating, the safest option is to stay off the roads in smoky and low visibility conditions, the Oregon Department of Transportation. High winds and wildfires also create other hazards including downed limbs and power lines. Remember to check conditions if you must head out.

A number of roads are closed throughout the state and the situation is rapidly evolving. Go to Tripcheck.com or call 5-1-1 for real time road conditions.

In the middle of these dangerously smoky road conditions, a number of Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices are closed throughout the state due to wildfires or power outages. Closures are posted on web pages for DMV field offices. In the event of a closure, DMV will contact customers with appointments.

We may see additional smoky conditions in the weeks ahead. Remember to avoid driving in these conditions if at all possible. If you must drive, be alert, don’t drive distracted and remember you play a big part to help avoid wildfires.

If you are driving and encounter heavy smoke here are some steps you can take to help stay safe.

  • Slow down and stay alert. Slow driving gives you more time to respond to unexpected conditions.

  • Turn on your headlights. Even during daylight hours your headlights will help others on the road see you. Use low-beams as high-beams reflect off the moisture in the air and cause glare.

  • Use fog lights. If you have them, fog lights can help cut through the smoke.

  • Check your entire route before setting out. Conditions may be very different at your destination.

  • Find an alternate route. Fire is wildly unpredictable, especially in high winds. If at all possible find a route that takes you away from fires.

  • Keep plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Visibility, of course, decreases in smoke so maintain a safe stopping distance between you and the vehicle up front.

  • If visibility becomes too dangerous to continue, pull off to the side of the road as soon as safely possible.

  • Never stop in a travel lane. Look for a safe area completely off the road if possible and turn off all lights, including flashers, until it’s safe to continue.

  • Don’t tailgate. Keep a steady, reliable pace. Remember that everyone else on the road is in the same fix you’re in. They’re counting on you to help show the way.

  • Roll up the windows. Set your fan to recirculate.

  • Have your car ready before you go. Make sure you have a full gas tank before leaving and your vehicle is in good condition. Have water, food, and medications with you – and for any pets you bring.


For more information, contact Katherine Benenati, 503-871-0388



(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown approved an emergency conflagration declaration for the Beachie Creek, Lionshead, and Holiday Farm Fire. The Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires were active overnight in the Santiam Canyon. Holiday Farm Fire is active near McKenzie Bridge. 

"Almost every year since becoming Governor, I've witnessed historic wildfire seasons," said Governor Kate Brown. "This past weekend, we experienced significant wind that is fueling wildfires with devastating consequences across Oregon, on top of a dire pandemic. For people and families in the evacuation areas, please listen to local calls to evacuate as needed — these lifesaving measures can protect the lives of you and your loved ones, as well as our firefighters. In addition, I am asking all Oregonians to remain vigilant with any activity that could spark a wildfire during this historic wind event. We all need to do our part to help the many firefighters battling multiple fires across Oregon."

In accordance with ORS 476.510 - 476.610, Governor Brown determined that a threat to a life, safety, and property exists due to fire, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The Governor's declaration authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to assist local resources battling the fire.


For more information, contact Nikki Fisher, 503-689-2509


The Oregon Office of Emergency Management is assisting through the State Emergency Coordination Center multiple counties encountering limited firefighting resources, challenging transportation access, as well as power outages and cellular service interruption.

Local evacuation information may be unclear due to power outages and a quickly changing situation. Stay tuned to trusted social media sources – county emergency management offices, Red Cross Cascades, state agencies such as the State Fire Marshal, Oregon Department Forestry, Oregon Department of Agriculture, etc. If Internet resources are not possible, contact your county sheriff’s department. If possible, check in on family, friends and neighbors to ensure their safety.  

Know evaluation level actions and heed them!

  • Level 1 – BE READY – Monitor emergency services websites and local media outlets for information. This is the time for preparation and precautionary movement of persons with special needs and, in some cases, pets and livestock.

  • Level 2 – BE SET – Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. There is significant danger to your area. Be prepared to voluntarily relocate to a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEPO) as set up by the Red Cross, or move to family/friends outside of the affected area.

  • Level 3 – GO – Leave immediately! Danger to your area is current or imminent. Do not delay leaving to gather any belongings or make efforts to protect your home.

Several roads are closed in affected fire areas and due to wind storm damage. Check TripCheck for the latest information.  Additional statewide wildfire information can be found on the State of Oregon Wildfire Dashboard

“Life safety is our number one priority,” said OEM Director Andrew Phelps. “Several jurisdictions have already declared a state of emergency. We are working closely with counties and tribes to assist in any and all ways that we can."

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

PGE implemented a public safety power shutoff (PSPS) due to hot, dry, and windy conditions for about 5,000 customers located in high fire-risk areas near Mt. Hood.  This is a proactive safety outage to help protect people, property and the environment in the face of extreme fire danger conditions and high winds forecast in the area. This is expected to last 24-48 hours.

For additional information about public safety power shutoffs, including a map of the affected area, go to PortlandGeneral.com/wildfire or call 503-228-6322 or 800-542-8818. Real-time information about unplanned outages can be found at PortlandGeneral.com/Outage.


Smoke levels are currently fluctuating between unhealthy for sensitive groups and hazardous in areas closest to fires. Detroit, Florence, Eugene and Chiloquin – are having severe smoke impacts, as are other areas. 

Smoke can irritate the eyes and lungs and worsen some medical conditions. Young children, adults over 65, pregnant women and people with heart disease, asthma or other respiratory conditions are most at risk. 

  • Stay inside if possible. Keep windows and doors closed.

  • Be aware of smoke in your area and avoid places with the highest levels.

  • If smoke levels are hazardous, consider leaving the area.

  • Use high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These can be portable filters or can be installed in indoor heating, ventilation, cooling and air purification systems.

  • If you have heart or lung disease or asthma, follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Additional information on wildfire smoke can be found on the Oregon Smoke Blog.

State Park Closures

State parks that are closed until further notice include Silver Falls, Detroit Lake, North Santiam and Collier (north of Klamath Falls). No entry for any purpose is permitted.


Amid wildfire, smoke and erratic weather, the COVID-19 pandemic is still rampant. Face coverings are required in all parts of the state and Oregonians are reminded to maintain social distancing, and wash hands frequently.

This update contains information from other state agency reports. 


For more information contact Paula Fasano Negele - 503-871-8689 - paula.negele@state.or.us or Bobbi Doan - 503-507-4481 - bobbi.doan@state.or.us


COEIN’s website, www.coemergencyinfo.blogspot.com provides a collective resource for up-to-date information. Access to accurate, timely information both locally and nationally is encouraged. Our County Public Health experts point to the Oregon Health Authority and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as good sources of information.

Central Oregon Emergency Information Network (COEIN), includes Deschutes County Health Services, Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Health System, Crook County Health Department, Crook County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Health Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, tri-county public schools, City of Bend, Bend Police, Bend Fire & Rescue, and others. COEIN’s purpose is to collect, coordinate and distribute timely and accurate information.

Accommodation Information for People with Disabilities   

To obtain this information in an alternate format such as Braille, large print, electronic formats, etc. please contact the COEIN JIC at 541.316.0087 or centraloregoninfo@gmail.com.