Wildfires Impacting Air Quality and Road Closures


This is proving to be a very challenging fire season in Oregon. Our long, wet winter and spring coupled with a very long dry spell and record-breaking heat, have created an especially volatile wildfire season. There are several “complex” fires, in which a number of smaller fires have grown into one large fire, making them more difficult to combat. And current conditions are fueling unpredictable growth of fire activity. According to USC Price, wildfires in the western states are a more common occurrence than elsewhere in the US which is in part due to the expansion of cities into rural wildland.

Air quality in the immediate area is in the dangerous range. People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should remain indoors and keep activity levels low. Everyone else should avoid all physical activity outdoors. For your safety, please consult official resources prior to undertaking travel plans to ensure access to your destination is safe and advisable.

Here are some resources we have collected to make that easier:

• Some areas of the state are affected by fire-related road closures.
• For current information on travel and safety conditions, please visit the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) website: https://www.tripcheck.com/TextPages/RCreport.asp?curRegion=0#.

• Much of the state is impacted by extreme heat and heavy smoke advisories, triggering “red flag” air quality conditions.
• See more information at http://oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/ and http://www.weather.gov/pqr/ for location-specific weather and air quality information.

• There are multiple wildfires, mainly on the western half of the state, and several are complexes, in which a number of smaller fires have grown into one large fire.
• Here are links to current maps of active wildfires in Oregon:

• The fire situation in Oregon is very dynamic Here’s a link to the Oregon Department of Forestry’s daily briefing blog: http://wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com/

• September in Oregon is often dry and hot, and conditions are ideal for new fire starts. Take care out there. Here are some great tips on wildfire prevention: http://keeporegongreen.org/prevent-wildfires/ or https://smokeybear.com/en

• Financial support to voluntary agencies responding to disasters is the most effective way to help people affected by
Oregon’s wildfires.
– Cash allows disaster agencies to purchase exactly what is needed.
– Donate to a reputable agency responding to the disaster.
– Individuals who are interested in assisting by making donations of money or materials should contact the
American Red Cross, http://www.redcross.org/local/oregon/ways-to-donate/wildfires
Oregon Tourism Commission 319 SW Washington St. Suite 700 Portland, Oregon 97204 USA P 971.717.6205 F 503.967.1579 traveloregon.com/industry

Additional information on two fires across the state in which Travel Oregon has been receiving the most inquiries.

• The Chetco Bar Fire was sparked on July 12 by lightning in the Kalmiopis Wilderness, roughly five miles north of Brookings, and has now burned more than 175,00 acres (as of 9/6) and is continuing to grow due to heat, dry air and heavy wind.
• The Chetco Bar Fire in Curry County is the largest fire burning in Oregon at this time and the highest priority fire in the
nation over the past week. Residents there are still under Level 1 (get ready), Level 2 (get set) and Level 3 (go) evacuations. If you are in the area you are encouraged to monitor the interactive evacuation map for changes and updates:
• Wildland Firefighters have worked day in and day out to protect the homes and lives of those living in Southwest Oregon. So far, there have been 11 homes lost and no injuries or deaths.
• The fire is still growing throughout the region and trail, road and area closures are in place. For more information and details regarding the closures, please visit the U.S. Forest Service website at http://tinyurl.com/ClosureOrder
• Individuals who are interested in making donations of money to the wildland firefighters, visit: www.wffoundation.org or visit the Chetco Fire Help Page to help the community:

• The Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area started on Sept. 2, just south of Cascade Locks and has now burned more than 20,000 acres (as of 9/6).
• Level 3 evacuations, affecting approximately 350 people, have sent area residents to Red Cross shelters at Mt. Hood Community College, 3691 NE 17th Drive in Gresham and at the Skamania County Fairgrounds, immediately across
the Columbia River in Stevenson, Wash.
• The entire Multnomah Falls area is under an evacuation notice and all lanes of Interstate 84 remain closed from
Troutdale (Exit 17) to 2 miles west of Hood River (MP 62). The Bridge of the Gods is closed.
• Firefighters worked successfully to protect the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge as the fire came close. No buildings were harmed and nobody was injured.
• Friends of the Gorge states, “The situation is continuing to rapidly evolve and it’s crucial that members of the public stay out of the Gorge at this point. Keeping the roads clear for firefighters, first responders and evacuating Gorge residents is critical.”
• If you are in the area, The Hood River County Sheriff and Multnomah County Sheriff are the best sources for updated information.
• For more visitor information about the Columbia Gorge Wildfires, visit
• Individuals who are interested in making donations to:
– Support search and rescue efforts in the region should contact https://gorgefriends.org/donate
– Support families that have had to evacuate should contact the Cascades Chapter of the Red Cross at


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