MORO, OR – Day 3 of the Substation Fire brought high winds, with gusts up to 35-40 mph, making it a challenging day for firefighters.
The winds gave way to growth at the south end of the fire, near Deschutes river canyon, impacting both agricultural and wildland areas. Significant air assets continue to be used throughout the incident, in addition to dozers that helped firefighters make progress towards containment.
The Substation Fire is now considered the number one fire in the nation. Additional resources arrived Thursday afternoon in the form of a Pacific Northwest incident management team. These 60 team members add greater depth to the operational forces currently employed on the fire and will assist in managing all aspects of the fire. The additional resources complement the 217 firefighters, who represent 73 fire agencies across the state, currently assigned to the fire.
The Oregon National Guard has been activated to assist the Oregon Department of Forestry with wildfire suppression efforts following Governor Kate Brown’s statewide wildfire emergency declaration on July 18, 2018. These assets include two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and two HH-60M Black Hawk helicopters equipped with Bambi water buckets.
Other air tankers known as “Super Scoopers” and “Fire Bosses” that can drop hundreds and thousands of gallons of water continue to be used, as well as single-engine air tankers that can disperse fire retardant. Aircraft in this fuel type are very useful; they can provide heavy drops on canyon ridges and precision attacks in steeper terrain.
Evacuation levels have been very fluid. Law enforcement and fire officials appreciate the community’s understanding and responsiveness regarding evacuations. Fire officials are working closely with the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office and Sherman County Sheriff’s Office to continually evaluate the risk to communities. Level 3 (“Go”) evacuations continue to be in place for Moro and Grass Valley. The communities of Wasco and Kent remain under Level 2 evacuation. Area residents are urged to heed local emergency notifications as well as check the local sheriff’s office Facebook page and the Substation Fire Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/substationfire2018) for updates.
Segments 3 and 4 of the lower Deschutes River remain closed.
The American Red Cross shelter at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St remains available to residents impacted by the fire. In addition to sleeping accommodations, the shelter is a resource for meals, community updates, and a cool place to get out of the heat and smokey conditions.
Locally, smoke is in the moderate to unhealthy range. Sensitive groups, such as those with asthma, chronic respiratory disease or cardio vascular disease, are encouraged to avoid smoke exposure, reduce time spent outdoors and avoid strenuous activity during smoky conditions.