SALEM, Ore. — Wednesday began with news that Governor Brown had declared a blanket state of emergency due to the threat of wildfire in Oregon, soon followed by an Emergency Conflagration Act declaration for the Wrentham Market Fire in Wasco County as it swiftly grew to cover 10,000 acres near the town of Dufur.
Governor Brown's office said in a statement that she declared a state of emergency on Tuesday due to the record-breaking high temperatures, widespread high or extreme fire danger, and red flag warnings in effect for hot, dry, and windy conditions or dry thunderstorms.
"Oregon is still recovering from the devastation of last year’s wildfires, which resulted in nine Oregonians losing their lives and thousands more losing their homes,” said Governor Brown. “With wildfires already sparking this year, it is imperative that we act now to prevent further loss — of life, property, business, and our natural resources."
The emergency declaration allows state agencies to temporarily suspend rules that might impair their response to wildfires, and allows them to request assistance from other states if needed. Brown's office hinted that the Oregon National Guard could be deployed "when state and national resources are limited."
By late Wednesday morning, Governor Brown issued another declaration along the same theme, invoking the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Wrentham Market Fire in Wasco County. The fire broke out Tuesday evening and was estimated at 10,000 acres by Wednesday morning, prompting Level 3 evacuations.
The conflagration label allows the Oregon State Fire Marshal to bring in firefighter strike teams from throughout the state to help in battling a wildfire, which happened almost immediately. OSFM said that three task forces were headed to the Wrentham Market Fire to assist.
“With high temperatures and weather conditions helping fires grow quickly, I have invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County at the Wrentham Market Fire,” Governor Brown said. "I want to reiterate that preventing wildfires is critical this year, especially as we already have entered an early season with several fires burning across the state. I'm asking all Oregonians to be cautious, be safe, and to honor all burn bans."