SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown announced on Wednesday that she has extended the state of emergency that began in late August, as a number of counties continue recovery efforts from the devastating fires in September.
Brown said that the extension is intended to support the response in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Tillamook counties, allowing the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to continue offering resources.
“The devastation felt by thousands of Oregonians throughout our state from wildfires is hard to fathom, and I remain firmly committed to recovering and rebuilding,” said Governor Brown. “Although wildfires have largely been contained, the work of recovery in impacted counties has just begun—and there is a long road ahead. We will do everything it takes, within our power and in coordination with federal and local officials, to rebuild a stronger Oregon.
“I would like to thank local, state, and federal officials, as well as all the community-based organizations and private sector partners, who continue to support impacted families. Our collective efforts to rebuild will demand strong partnerships at all levels over the long term. But we can do this together.”
The emergency declaration supports the state's Emergency Coordination Center, suspends certain administrative rules that would hamper wildfire recovery, and keeps the "Governor’s Disaster Cabinet and Wildfire Economic Recovery Council" active. It also allows the state Department of Transportation to contract workers for debris clean-up — the removal of hazard trees, ash, and destroyed structures.
The Governor's office said that Brown will keep the emergency in effect until she determines that state agencies can support recovery efforts without the need for emergency authority.
Brown first declared a statewide state of emergency on August 20, in anticipation of worsening wildfire conditions. The Almeda and South Obenchain fires broke out less than three weeks later, along with multiple fires across western Oregon — spurred by remarkably dry and windy conditions.