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Governor Proclaims Central Oregon Graham Fire a 'Conflagration'

Officials say that the fire currently covers 2,000 acres near Lake Billy Chinook, west of Culver.

Posted: Jun. 22, 2018 11:52 AM
Updated: Jun. 22, 2018 1:52 PM

SALEM, Ore. — A wildfire that was first reported on Thursday has reached the emergency status of a 'conflagration,' according to a proclamation from Governor Kate Brown's office.

The Graham Fire burns about 2,000 acres according to the latest reports from fire officials. The flames lie just west of Lake Billy Chinook and Cove Palisades State Park in central Oregon—west of the town of Culver. There has already been a Level 3 evacuation notice issued to residents in the area.

"To ensure the safety of Jefferson County residents, and given the dry and windy conditions on the ground, I am invoking an emergency declaration to make additional state resources available to firefighters and local first responders," Governor Kate Brown said.

The Emergency Conflagration Act allows for the State Fire Marshal to intervene and bring in outside resources to assist local crews battling the fire.

According to state law, a conflagration order can be issued when the Governor deems that a threat to life, safety and property exists due to a major fire—and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local fire crews and equipment.

The Level 3 evacuation order, which currently affects the Three Rivers subdivision near the fire, equates to a "GO" order—or immediate evacuation of the area.

Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorised federal funds to help combat the Graham Fire. According to FEMA, over 1,000 homes are under threat in the area. They estimate that about 3,000 people are covered by the evacuation order.

Here is the current information on that fire from InciWeb, the national database for fire incidents:

"The Graham Fire was reported on June 21, 2018 around 1:30 p.m. four miles south of the Metolius River arm of Lake Billy Chinook, near Culver, Oregon. The fire is burning primarily on private land protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and Lake Chinook Fire and Rescue. Numerous homes are threatened in the Three Rivers Sub-division and evacuations are in place. Extreme fire behavior has included running and torching in brush, grass, and timber."

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