Portland News

Oregon fire contained quickly thanks to new investment


For the past few days, crews have been responding to fires throughout Oregon, and many of them have been ready thanks to the red flag warning.

Officials say their part of their readiness comes from funding lawmakers set aside to increase fire response.

The aid

Last Friday, a fire broke out at the Vitae Springs south of Salem.

According to Salem Fire Deputy Chief Brian Carrara, his department was on high alert on Friday due to the heavy winds and red flag warning.

Officials said that within ten minutes of the fire call, crews arrived to witness 50-foot flames.

A red flag warning and strong gusts of winds meant the fire immediately escalated to a four-alarm fire.

“Over 30 pieces of apparatus were on the scene within two hours,” said Carrara.

Coming to their aid were crews from surrounding districts who previously held mutual aid agreements.

They were part of three task forces in the region.

All three were staffed up and ready to give them aid due to the high winds forecast last weekend.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office said it was also able to send helicopters to help slow down the fire from the air.

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The resources

Brian Carrara said the resources helped contain the situation, otherwise matters would have gotten worse.

“It was moving pretty fast,” said Carrara.

According to Carrara, the fire made it difficult for ground crews to get through.

However, aerial resources were made available thanks to the $200 million lawmakers set aside in 2021.

They allocated the money to increase fire resources – a decision that ultimately paid off.

Taxpayers in the south Salem neighborhood applauded 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.

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The fire

Two dozen crews responded to a fast-moving vegetation fire on Vitae Springs Road South on Friday evening.

The road was closed in the south of Salem with firefighters evacuating homes and businesses in a two-mile radius.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office ordered Level 3 evacuations for Orville Rd S, Riversprings Rd to Prospect Ridge, Vitae Springs Road between Skyline to River Rd, and the West side of Skyline Rd from Vitae Springs Rd.

The sheriff’s office also put Level 2 evacuation for several areas in Marion County and Polk County.

People evacuated to Judson Middle School while people with livestock were advised to stay in touch with officials to make arrangements to keep the livestocks somewhere safe.

The fire came from a private property, but investigations about the cause are still ongoing.

Officials said the fire burned 167 acres, but that it is not fully contained.

Evacuations were downgraded on Sunday with over 119 homes in a Level 3 evacuation zone.


New investments credited in quick Oregon fire response

Brush fire south of Salem prompts Level 3 and Level 2 evacuation orders



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