PORTLAND, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Tuesday declared a state of emergency due to “the imminent threat of wildfires” across the state.
"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,” said Brown. “With wildfires already sparking this year, it is imperative that we act now to prevent further loss—of life, property, business, and our natural resources."
The state of emergency declaration authorizes the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon State Fire Marshal to utilize personnel, equipment, and facilities from other state agencies to respond to wildfires. In addition, state agencies can suspend any rules that could impair the wildfire response. If needed, the Oregon National Guard could deploy firefighting resources. Oregon could also request assistance from other states if necessary.
“I issued this emergency declaration to ensure every resource is made available for firefighting efforts and to the crews striving to protect our state,” said Brown. “With fire seasons increasingly starting earlier and lasting longer, it is up to each of us to do our part to prevent wildfires and be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent.”
The U.S. Forest Service has also prohibited campfires on national forest lands in the region, including Mount Hood National Forest, Gifford Pinchot National Forest and Forest Service lands on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The restrictions start July 1.
Portable cooking stoves, lanterns and heating devices using propane are still allowed.
An excessive heat warning is still in effect for much of the state after record-shattering temperatures last weekend. Much of Oregon is still in high or extreme fire danger and there is no rain in the forecast.
Counties and towns across the Portland metro area have banned fireworks due to the dry conditions and hot temperatures.