Oregon Highway 22 will be closed until authorities can deal with burned trees along the Santiam Canyon as well as damaged guardrails and pavement. (Oregon Department of Transportation photo)
Here is the latest information regarding the Beachie Creek Fire:
The fire grew little in the past 24 hours, covering 188,374 acres by Sunday night. Fire officials said they were getting containment lines in place along the western flank of the fire but the fire was still active on the south flank in the Santiam Canyon.
“Fire behavior will decrease and progression will subside,” according to an incident command report posted Sunday night.
Monday will be another day to stay indoors in the Salem area as air quality is expected to continue to be hazardous. The Air Quality Index hit 671 in Salem on Sunday afternoon. Anything over 300 is considered hazardous.
The National Weather Service forecasted fog again for the Willamette Valley on Monday, mixing with dense fog to reduce visibility to a quarter mile or less.
“If driving, slow down, use your headlights and leave plenty of distance ahead of you,” The weather service advised. “Take special care in urban areas as pedestrians and cyclists may be difficult to see. Likewise, pedestrians and cyclists should take care and not assume that they will easily be seen by motorists.”
Authorities intend to bolster roadblocks to keep all but emergency crews out of the evacuation area in the Santiam Canyon. Checkpoints staffed by police and the Oregon National Guard will get barricades installed by Monday morning by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon Highway 22 through the canyon is closed east of Stayton.
Barricades are expected along Highway 22 at the intersections of Oregon Highway 226, Jennie Road, U.S. 20 and Gates Hill Road. Oregon 226 is closed at the Mehama Bridge and West McCully Mountain Road.
The Transportation Department warned of continuing hazards in the canyon and said expected rain could make matters worse.
“Trees and rocks are unstable or have fallen in the road. Unstable hillsides could bring more debris down or cause landslides,” the agency said in a statement. “ODOT continues assessing damage to the highway, but guardrail, pavement and signs have all been damaged. A significant number of hazard trees will need to assessed and removed before the highway is safe to open to the public.”
State officials urge those who left evacuated areas to register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website. The registration helps reduce the number of people considered missing and allows relatives to check on the status of those impacted by the wildfires.
Those with property in Detroit or Idanha can call authorities to have police check on their homes and report the status. Property owners should call 503-798-6823 between 8 a.m. and 54 p.m. to request a check on their residence. Callers will need to provide their name, address, phone number, any information on anyone missing from the location, and information on animals at the location. Police will check the property and call the owner with updated information.
State officials said the best way people can help is with a contribution to the Red Cross or other relief agency is part of the Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. “Counties have received an influx of donations of materials they are unable to distribute,” officials said in a statement. “Unsolicited goods burden local organizations’ ability to meet survivors’ confirmed needs, drawing away valuable volunteer labor, transportation and warehouse space.”
Marion County needs volunteers at the fire evacuation center at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Tasks include helping direct traffic at the crosswalk, making calls to find hotel accommodations and running temperature checks. Sign up for shifts here.
FIRE MARSHAL CONTROVERSY
Jim Walker, the Oregon state fire marshal, was put on an administrative leave Friday night and then resigned on Saturday. Walker entered the Beachie Creek Fire area on Thursday as a personal favor to check on property, according to this report by The Oregonian/OregonLive.
A SUNDAY TOUR
Fire officials provided a tour of portions of the Santiam Canyon to four journalists, including two from Oregon media and two from national and international media organizations. KGW in Portland filed this report on what its videographer saw.
A lineman works to restore power lines outside Mill City on Sunday, Sept. 13. (Pool photo by Rob Schumacher/Statesman Journal)
Fishermen's Bend Recreation Site on Oregon Highway 22 west of Mill City was heavily damaged by the Beachie Creek Fire. (Pool photo by Rob Schumacher/Statesman Journal)
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