As red flag weather conditions descended on Portland and sparked unprecedented multiple wildfires around the region, Portland Fire & Rescue responded to back-to-back incidents around the area. From downed power lines to trees crashing into cars and buildings to wind-stoked fires, PF&R is working around the clock to keep Portland safe. Since Monday, PF&R has responded to over 500 fire calls while in the previous three days we responded to 152.
Portland firefighters who are part of Incident Command Teams overseen by the Oregon Fire Marshal’s Office have already been deployed around the state to work on wildfires. Task forces were created to address the immediate needs in our neighboring counties that are fighting multiple wildfires requiring evacuations. We are supplying as much mutual aid as we can while still protecting Portland. To date, 70 Portland Fire & Rescue firefighters have been deployed around the state and we have put five fire engines, one water tender, and one brush unit on the road to assist Clackamas County and Medford in their wildfire fight.
“This is an unprecedented fire event affecting our state and it requires all of us to work together as a community,” says Fire Chief Sara Boone. “Thank you to our firefighters who left their homes to combat these wildfires that are destroying lives and property across Oregon. I want to recognize that many City of Portland employees, including firefighters, have been forced to evacuate their homes and are experiencing loss. I am asking every single person in Portland to do their part to prevent fires in the city.”
Fire staffing in the state is stretched thin and it is of the utmost importance that Portlanders take extreme preventative measures to make sure no fires are started. Some suggested measures Portlanders can take to protect themselves and the community are below:
- Do not BBQ or create outdoor fires during this dangerous period.
- Do not smoke outside and make sure inside cigarette butts are extinguished fully in a non-combustible ashtray.
- Do not use any machinery that creates sparks outside.
- If you live next to a natural area, you should provide firefighters with the defensible space they need to protect your home. Create a buffer zone by removing weeds, brush and other vegetation. This helps keep the fire away from your home and reduces the risk from flying embers.
- Sign up to receive emergency alerts at www.publicalerts.org
- Be aware: if you see a fire, no matter how small, call 9-1-1.
- Learn what to do at different emergency evacuation levels:
Level 1: Get Ready
Level 2: Be Set
Level 3: GO!