Image source: Oregon Live
In recent days, crews across Oregon have been responding to the fires, and many have been prepared thanks to the red flag warning.
Officials say their part of their preparation stems from lawmakers’ funding to increase firefighting.
A fire broke out in Vitae Springs, south of Salem, last Friday.
Salem Deputy Fire Chief Brian Carrara said his department was on high alert Friday due to high winds and the red flag warning.
Officials said crews arrived within 10 minutes of the fire call to see 50-foot flames.
A red-flag warning and strong gusts of wind caused the fire to escalate immediately into a four-alarm fire.
“Over 30 pieces of apparatus were on the scene within two hours,” said Carrara.
Teams from the surrounding districts who had previously entered into mutual aid agreements came to their aid.
They were part of three task forces in the region.
All three were manned and ready to assist them due to the strong winds expected last weekend.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office said it could also send helicopters to slow fire from the air.
Brian Carrara said the resources helped manage the situation or things would get worse.
“It was moving pretty fast,” said Carrara.
Carrara said the fire made it difficult for ground teams to pass.
However, air resources were made available thanks to the $ 200 million allocated by lawmakers in 2021.
They pledged the money to increase firefighting resources – a move that ultimately paid off.
Taxpayers in Salem’s South Ward hailed the decision, saying it was money well spent.
“We are very, very thankful that our homes are fine, and that they got this fire put out, and that no structures were damaged,” said Laura, a local resident.
Two dozen crews responded to a fast-moving wildfire on Vitae Springs Road South Friday evening.
The road was closed in south Salem and firefighters evacuated homes and businesses within a two-mile radius.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has ordered level 3 evacuations for Orville Rd S, Riversprings Rd via Prospect Ridge, Vitae Springs Rd between Skyline and River Rd, and the west side of Skyline Rd from Vitae Springs Rd.
The sheriff’s office also ordered level 2 evacuations for several areas in Marion County and Polk County.
People were evacuated to Judson Middle School, while those with livestock were asked to stay in contact with officers to make arrangements to keep the livestock in a safe place.
The fire started on private property, and investigations into the cause are still ongoing.
Officials said the fire had burned 167 acres but was not fully contained.
Evacuations were downgraded on Sunday, with more than 119 homes in a Level 3 evacuation zone.
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