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Additional firefighters and engines join Beachie Creek fire

Five additional engines, another hotshot squad, and crews from Canada join firefighting efforts today on the Beachie Creek fire. These new resources will work to secure the southernmost edge of the fire.

Posted: Sep 20, 2020 9:31 AM
Updated: Sep 20, 2020 9:42 AM

SALEM, Ore. -- Officials report five additional engines, another hotshot squad, and crews from Canada join firefighting efforts today on the Beachie Creek fire. These new resources will work to secure the southernmost edge of the fire.

On the western fire perimeter, all crews remain hard at work and are making excellent progress securing lines to protect communities there. 

As visibility has improved, the six helicopters and single-engine craft assigned to the Beachie Creek fire have been able to fly. 

Today and Monday bring dryer air, warmer temperatures, and lower humidity. This means that residents may see smoldering fire, potential torching, and smoke from the interior of the fire’s footprint.

As residents of Mill City and Gates return, they should know that there are several places inside of the fire, called green islands, that did not initially burn. The rain did not put out the fire, and it is still slowly smoldering, consuming those green islands. That activity is well inside of the fire containment lines, and first responders are aware and working the scene.

Officials say the primary focus Sunday and Monday will be putting firefighters directly on the fire lines and reinforcing those containment lines, contingency lines, and monitoring any hot spots to protect Marion and Clackamas Counties, especially on the Western edge, including Greg’s Corner, Silver Falls State Park, and to the north, Corbet’s Corner.

Sunday 260 Canadians joined the Area Command; half are assigned to the Beachie Creek fire. They will build a fire line along State Route 22 between Stayton and Detroit. State Route 22 has roadblocks; first responders and ODOT are working to clear fallen trees and rockslides.

Currently, 1,118 structures are at Level 3 evacuations and another 4,574 are in level 2 evacuations. As more residents are allowed back into the area, officials say it is imperative that everyone heeds road closures and safety messages. 

The Willamette National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, and State lands around the fire remain closed to the public.

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