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Substation fire evacuations expanded

Governor declares a state of emergency

Lee Hughes of Moro patiently fills a water tank Wednesday afternoon on Main Street in Moro. He fought the fire through much of the night, and was getting ready to help again today. A few hours later, Moro was placed under Level 3 (go) evacuations and Highway 197 was closed. 
Mark B. Gibson photo

Photo by Mark Gibson
Lee Hughes of Moro patiently fills a water tank Wednesday afternoon on Main Street in Moro. He fought the fire through much of the night, and was getting ready to help again today. A few hours later, Moro was placed under Level 3 (go) evacuations and Highway 197 was closed. Mark B. Gibson photo



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Smoke from the Gordon Ridge Area, just south of the Deschutes River in Sherman County, billows behind Locust Grove Church Wednesday afternoon. The area is under Level 3 (go) evacuation orders. Mark B. Gibson photo

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Smoke billows from Gordon Ridge, viewed from Upper Fulton Canyon Road. The wheat fields beyond the sage brush has not yet been harvested. Mark B. Gibson photo

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Local residents fill water tanks on their brush trucks in Moro Wednesday afternoon. Black ash was visibly falling along Main Street. The city was soon after placed under manditory evacuation orders and Highway 97 was closed. Mark B. Gibson photo

Moro — The Substation Fire, which started southeast of The Dalles on Tuesday afternoon, moved further east today driven by high winds. Firefighters saw heightened activity on the north and the south ends of the fire. More than 50,000 acres in Sherman and Wasco Counties are affected.

Highway 97 from Biggs Junction to milepost 67, the junction with Highway 197, was closed Wednesday evening.

Level 3 evacuations (“Go”) increased to include the city of Moro; level 2 evacuations (“Be Set”) grew to include the community of Wasco, south to of Kent and several miles east. More than 900 homes are in the Level 2 and level 3 areas. A Red Cross shelter is open at The Dalles Middle School at 1100 E. 12th St in The Dalles.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing threat of wildfire and increasing wildfire activity. The declaration makes available resources from around the state, including the Oregon National Guard, and from outside of Oregon if necessary.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 178 firefighters from 32 agencies across Oregon are focused on protecting structures in the line of the fire. Additional resources continue to arrive from around the state.

A wide variety of flying air tankers have been deployed to fight the Substation Fire. These include:

• Two 750-gallon capacity “Fire Bosses”

• Two ”Super Scooper” air tankers, capable of which are “scooping” 12,000 gallons of water from the Columbia River to drop on the fire

• A heavy air tanker which drops retardant on the fire

• Two Type-2 helicopters

• A VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker), which can carry 12,000 gallons of water, was also deployed.

“I saw neighbors helping neighbors and firefighters going the extra mile to bring this fire under control,” said Public Information Officer Damon Simmons. “While these fires are awful, they show the true spirit of the local residents and Oregonians in general.”

Travelers are advised to check ODOT TripCheck for up-to-date information regarding highway closures.

The Wasco Co. Sheriff’s Office confirmed one civilian fatality as a result of exposure to the fire.

A hotline for Substation Fire information has been established: 503-597-8076. Additional information is available at www.facebook.com/Substation2018



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