Three Clackamas County cities that have been within a hair-trigger of being evacuated will sleep easier Saturday night, Sept. 12, as evacuation levels have been downgraded.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office announced just before 9 p.m. that Canby, Oregon City and Sandy are being taken off Level 2, "Be Set," evacuation status and are now at Level 1, "Be Ready."
The two levels are similar in that neither calls on residents to leave their homes due to imminent danger, but on Level 2, residents are encouraged to either leave or be set to leave at a moment's notice. Level 1 is less urgent, although residents covered by a Level 1 evacuation order should still have a plan to evacuate if necessary.
Canby, Oregon City and Sandy were all moved to Level 2 on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10. But easterly winds that were pushing the massive Riverside Fire to the west and north, toward the cities of Estacada and Molalla, died down that evening. Officials say mild westerly winds coming off the Pacific Ocean have taken their place, bringing more moisture into the air and beginning to push the fire back in on itself.
The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said the decision to downgrade the evacuation levels for Canby, Oregon City and Sandy was based on the assessment of the Riverside Fire Incident Management Team, considering the current status of the fire and progress by firefighters at suppressing hotspots.
Level 3, "Go Now," evacuation orders remain in place for virtually all of south Clackamas County, and the Level 3 area reaches north past Estacada. No Level 3 evacuation orders have been lifted as of Saturday evening.
Estacada and Molalla are still on Level 3 status.
A swath of unincorporated Clackamas County in between the cities of Canby, Oregon City and Sandy and the Level 3 evacuation area is still at Level 2. Residents in those areas should remain set to evacuate at a moment's notice if the situation changes.
All of Clackamas County is under one of the three evacuation levels. The closest-in Portland suburbs of Clackamas County, including those west of the Willamette River, have been at Level 1 since Tuesday, Sept. 8.
The Riverside Fire has burned some 132,545 acres — more than 10% the land area of Clackamas County — and is 0% contained as of Saturday evening, according to officials.
Local, state and federal resources have been poured into countering the wildfire, one of the largest in Oregon's recent history. Much of it is burning in the Mount Hood National Forest.
Statewide, Gov. Kate Brown said Friday, Sept. 11, that more than 40,000 Oregonians have evacuated their homes due to wildfires burning across the state.
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