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Thousands of homes without power and people forced to evacuate due to heavy fires in Oregon and Washington

On Saturday, there were 18 significant fires burning in the states of Oregon and Washington. These flames prompted evacuations in Oregon and caused targeted power outages in that state. The difficulty of dry and windy conditions continued to plague the region.

According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, there are around 406 square miles of active, uncontained flames spread throughout the two states, and there are over 5,000 people working to put out the fires.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, these flames are among the more than 90 active fires that are now burning across the United States, including in the states of Montana, California, and Idaho. According to the findings of climate change researchers, over the past three decades, the Western United States has become warmer and drier, and this trend will continue to make the weather more intense and wildfires more frequent and devastating.

Lightning ignited the Goat Rocks Fire in Washington state, which is located south of Mount Rainier National Park. As a result of this fire, U.S. Highway 12 has been shut down, and residents of areas east of the community of Packwood have been evacuated. In reaction to the Kalama fire that broke out in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the southwest of Mount St. Helens, evacuation orders were also issued for many villages in Cowlitz County.

The Bolt Creek Fire, which forced the evacuation of 300 to 400 homes and was dropping ash in Everett and billowing smoke into the suburbs of Seattle, caused the closure of another mountain pass on U.S. Highway 2 on Saturday. The fire was the cause of the closure.

According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the fire quickly spread during the day, doubling in size over the course of around two hours to reach approximately three square miles, and was burning wood in tough terrain.

Peter Mongillo, a spokesman for Snohomish Regional Fire and Rescue, was nearby as part of the overall incident command center, and he stated that high-voltage transmission lines owned by Bonneville Power Administration that run across the Cascade Mountains were at risk as a result of the amount of smoke and particulates in the air, both of which can have an effect on the lines. These lines run across the mountains.

During the course of a phone interview, he made the following statement: “It raises the chances of arcing and sparking a fire or perhaps shutting down the power line.”

According to Mongillo, it was suggested that Bonneville turn off the lines, but according to him, for the time being, Bonneville plans to keep the lines on and will continue to monitor the situation.

As of right now, the “position of the fire and the intensity of smoke is such that we do not have an operational or safety need to pull those lines out of service,” according to the spokesman for Bonneville, Kevin Wingert. There are three lines in the vicinity.

According to Wingert, if the conditions were to change and those lines were need to be taken out of service, it is likely that there would be no loss in service to customers due to the fact that there are other transmission lines that are in service. Customers of Bonneville include Puget Sound Energy and Snohomish County Public Utility District. Puget Sound Energy serves customers in Seattle as well as customers in other areas.

Through the night on Sunday, the state of Washington will continue to have a red flag warming, which indicates that the combination of high temperatures, little humidity, and strong winds will make it difficult to control fires.

Late on Friday night, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon issued an evacuation order for campers in the Milo McIver State Park. This park is located around 24 miles southeast of Portland. Residents of a number of villages to the west of the park received word early on Saturday morning that they needed to be prepared to evacuate.

The power was first cut off to approximately 30,000 people in 12 service regions by Portland General Electric in the hopes of reducing the risk of additional fires. However, by Saturday, the number of customers affected had climbed to almost 37,000. Around 30,000 people were present at that location by the late afternoon on Saturday, when the number had fallen further. More than 7,000 customers in a small village on the Pacific Coast, where a wildfire raged two years ago, and in areas southeast of Salem, the state capital, had their power cut off by Pacific Power. Salem is the capital of Oregon. On Saturday, the number of customers of Pacific Power who were without service reached a new high of 12,000.

The Double Creek Fire is currently the largest fire in Oregon, and it is located in the north-eastern region of the state, close to the border with Idaho. As of Saturday, the fire had consumed an area that was more than 230 square miles in size. Overnight, the fire spread across an additional 65 square miles, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Nearly 81 square miles of land have been consumed by the Cedar Creek Fire, which is located in central Oregon and is burning east of Oakridge. Because of the elevated risk of fire, authorities issued an evacuation order for the larger Oakridge, Westfir, and High Prairie districts on Friday. Residents were told to leave immediately.

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