CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. — County officials reduced evacuation levels for some areas in Clackamas County on Monday even as the Riverside Fire continues to threaten the town of Estacada and other communities.
A Level 3 evacuation order remains in place for Estacada and other areas in and around the Riverside Fire, which had burned more than 134,000 acres and was 0% contained as of Tuesday morning, according to InciWeb.
On Monday, Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders were reduced to Level 2 (Get Set) in the following areas:
- An area east of Oregon City encompassing some portions of the Redland, Beavercreek and Highland areas.
- An area south of the city of Sandy, encompassing some portions of the Eagle Creek, Firwood, and Wildcat Mountain areas.
Level 2 (Get Set) evacuation orders were reduced to Level 1 (Be Ready) in the following area:
- An area south of the cities of Oregon City and Canby, encompassing some portions of the Mulino and Monitor areas.
On Sunday, the town of Molalla was dropped to Level 2.
The Beachie Creek Fire in Marion County and Riverside Fire remain about one mile apart. Officials said earlier this week a merger of the two fires was not imminent. The Beachie Creek Fire had burned more than 190,000 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to InciWeb.
"The current combination of winds, record dry forests, and a lack of natural holding features in the Table Rock Wilderness and surrounding areas mean it is still possible the fires could burn together in the coming days. Based on current weather, it is anticipated that a future merger would not result in dynamic fire behavior as seen in the last week," officials said.
The county is also dealing with unhealthy air quality because of the smoke created by the fires. Sarah Present, public health officer for the county, said earlier this week that the region has the worst air quality in the world.
"The air is not just unhealthy, it’s in the hazardous range," Present said. "Everyone can have health effects from this smoke and it’s especially dangerous for our most vulnerable populations."
Those most at risk include those with underlying lung and heart disease. The more vulnerable populations also include the elderly, pregnant women and children.
"The bottom line right now is please stay inside," Present said.
Nancy Bush, Clackamas County disaster management director, asked residents to limit water use because of some issues with pressure in some of the systems. Bush said they have been working with water providers and firefighters.
GALLERY: Your pics of smoky skies in Oregon