Statewide Emergency Issued In Oregon As ‘Unprecedented’ Wildfires Ravage The State

Reuters: Wildfire burns in Willamette National Forest, Oregon, U.S. made available on August 8, 2017.

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Thousands of Oregon residents were evacuated from their homes Tuesday as wildfires raged across the state.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide emergency Tuesday after strong winds caused fires to expand and new ones to ignite, according to OBP. There are reportedly wildfires blazing in Marion, Lane, Jackson, Coos, Lincoln, Washington and Clackama counties, the outlet reported.

“Our number one priority is evacuation and basic life safety,” Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple told the outlet. “This wind event does not give us the opportunity to really get in there and fight fire how we might fight fire in previous events.” (RELATED: San Francisco Sky Bright Orange From ‘Snowing’ Ash, Wildfire Smoke)

The wind isn’t the only environmental factor contributing to the wildfires. Chief of Fire Protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry told reporters that Oregon is experiencing extremely dry conditions and a cold front moved in, according to OBP.

“You combine that series of conditions and you have a supreme alignment for destructive fires. That’s exactly what we’ve seen,” Grafe said. “Seeing them run down the canyons the way they have carrying tens of miles in one afternoon and not slowing down through the evening. [There’s] absolutely no context for this environment.”

Grafe claimed the intensity of the fires won’t allow officials to “really go on the offensive” to put out the fires until Thursday, the outlet reported.