Approximately half the residents of Oregon's Clackamas County — the edge of which abuts the southern city limits of Portland — have been ordered to evacuate their homes as one of five wildfires currently burning in the state is threatening several towns and suburbs.
The Riverside Fire, one of three fires that have grown over 100,000 acres that are currently burning to the east of Salem, has prompted evacuation orders for the towns of Estacada and Molalla — each of which sit about 30 miles outside of Portland to the south. As the New York Times reports, the City of Estacada issued a warning to its residents Thursday afternoon saying, "If you have not evacuated, you must do so now. At this point in time there will be no firefighters protecting the City if the fire happens to continue moving toward town."
The entire evacuation is affected as many as 200,000 people who were clogging highways and roads around Portland in the past 24 hours.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has declared a state of emergency, and the only thing working in firefighters' favor right now is that winds appeared to be calmer Friday than they were Thursday.
As the map below shows, three smaller fires, each of which erupted during high winds on Tuesday, have appeared closer to the city of Portland, and remain active.
The three fires burning in the Cascade Range and in Mount Hood National Forest are expected to join into a single fire, as The Oregonian reports. Currently the Riverside Fire has burned about 130,000 acres, while the Beachie Creek Fire stands at 182,000 acres, and the Lionshead Fire at 131,000 acres. The latter is listed as 5 percent contained, while the Beachie Creek Fire is uncontained, and so is the Riverside Fire.
One small town of about 500 people in Marion County, Gates, Oregon, is reportedly completely destroyed. And it remains unclear how many directions these uncontained fires may spread before the weekend is out.
Much as it is in the Bay Area, air quality in and around Portland was extremely unhealthy to hazardous on Friday.
But unlike the situation in San Francisco, these fires are getting uncomfortably close to population-dense areas. Suburbs of Portland that are less than ten miles south of the city limits, including Lake Oswego and Marylhurst, remained under Level 1 or "green" evacuation warnings as of Friday morning.
2. @clackamascounty is also updating a color-coded fire-evacuation map at https://t.co/nkx66IZIv4— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) September 11, 2020
You can enter your address to see the evacuation level in your area.
Pictured is a snapshot of the map as of 10:15 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 11.#clackamaswildfires pic.twitter.com/TMWJmPB1fG
The National Weather Service provided a satellite model showing how near-surface smoke should begin dispersing both in Northern California and in at least parts of Oregon late Friday into Saturday, thanks to incoming marine air and a westerly breeze.
Marine air begins to work inland over the next couple of days with a modest westerly breeze. This will allow air quality and visibilities to begin to improve over northwest OR and southwest WA, as seen in this computer model for today (Fri). Purples depict the densest smoke. pic.twitter.com/U7ADxX4smw— NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) September 11, 2020
Photo via Clackamas County Sheriff's Office