The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office is telling residents of about 70 homes to be ready to evacuate. That’s as a series of wildfires continues to burn in the rolling hills southwest of the Dalles.
The Government Flat Complex began after lightning moved through the area late last week. So far, the fires have burned about 1,500 acres.
Over the weekend, Governor Kitzhaber invoked the Conflagration Act, freeing up additional resources to fight the fires.
Tommy Schroeder is a fire information officer for the Oregon State Fire Marshall. He says structural protection teams are in place to protect homes in the area.
He says they’re also keeping a close eye on a water treatment facility operated by the city of the Dalles.
“It’s primarily because if the fire does encroach on that area we’re going to have to evacuate it, which will force the employees to shut the facility down and that facility provides water service to much of the city of the Dalles,” said Schroeder.
Fire managers have been using three air tankers to drop retardant on the flames, but high winds have hampered those efforts. As of Monday morning, the fires were just 12% contained.