MARION COUNTY, Ore. — Marion County has declared a state of emergency because of wildfires that are spreading rapidly in the county. Two large fires, the Santiam and Lionshead fires, had burned more than 130,000 acres by Tuesday.
Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to help direct more resources toward the fires.
The Lionshead Fire east of Detroit Lake and the Santiam Fire east of Salem, formerly called the Beachie Creek Fire, prompted Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation orders for residents in:
- Hwy. 214 north of Silver Falls State Park to Scotts Mills
- Holley area and Upper Calapooia Road
Level 2 (Be Set) evacuations were issued for the following areas:
- Hwy. 213 west Mt. Angel Silverton to Drakes Crossing
In Linn County, a Level 1 evacuation advisory was in effect in the Crawfordsville area. Drive-in shelter and livestock stables are open for use at the Linn County Fairgrounds.
An evacuation staging area has been established at the Oregon State Fairgrounds at 2330 17th Street NE in Salem. Impacted residents can call 503-391-7294 for more information.
Officials said on Tuesday afternoon that residents in central and eastern Marion County who are not at Level 2 should consider themselves under Level 1 (get ready) evacuation orders.
"The extreme fire activity in the area poses an imminent danger to anyone who chooses to remain in the evacuated area," Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said Tuesday. "Our deputies are committed to helping keep our community safe; however, conditions have become too dangerous for them to continue with evacuation efforts at this time.
"I encourage anyone still in the Santiam Canyon to leave immediately following the deputies out of the area. I cannot say when the conditions will allow deputies and other emergency responders to return to the area to render assistance. Please leave now."
Highway 22 eastbound is closed from Stayton to Santiam Junction.
The Lionshead Fire, located about 14 miles west of Warm Springs, had grown from 18,615 acres on Monday to 27,674 acres on Tuesday after high winds fueled dangerous conditions.
The fire was 31% contained Tuesday morning, with more than 800 people working to suppress it. It was caused by lightning last month.
Breitenbush Hot Springs and Devil's Creek community were also placed at Level 3 (Go Now) evacuation status Monday night in response to the fire. This Level 3 notice means there is significant danger in the area and residents need to leave immediately.