Teams from the Marion County Sheriff's Office and the Oregon National Guard staff a roadblock on Friday, Sept.11, to prevent unauthorized access to closed fire areas. (Marion County Sheriff's Office photo)
Smoke is expected to stay around the Salem area until later this week as a result of historic wildfires.
Salem and other areas throughout western Oregon and Washington have been under a dense smoke advisory that’s scheduled to expire at 6 p.m. this evening. The National Weather Service forecast calls for a chance of rain tonight as well as Tuesday.
As of Monday afternoon, Salem’s Air Quality Index was at 446, above the level considered hazardous.
Will Ahue, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said that there is a low-pressure system that could be moving off the coast that could sweep the smoke out to the ocean by the end of the week.
“We now find ourselves one week into this fire event,” said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown during a press briefing on Monday. “And without question, our state has been pushed to its limits.”
Wildfires across the state have now burned approximately 1 million acres and destroyed 1,145 residences, according to numbers put out by the state Office of Emergency Management Monday. There have also been 10 confirmed fatalities and 22 missing persons.
The Beachie Creek Fire east of Salem now covers 188,374 acres, down from the 188,935 acres recorded on Sunday after fire crews started containing the fire over the weekend. Currently, 16,776 structures have been evacuated because of the fire and another 18,528 households have been told to prepare to evacuate.
Evacuation orders remain in effect for the Santiam Canyon and Lyons, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has not issued new orders for nearby communities. Scotts Mills and areas east of Meridan Rd., Davis Creek and Victor Point were downgraded to a “be set” evacuation notice Monday.
NOTE: As a community service, Salem Reporter is providing free access to its stories related to the wildfires.
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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.