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Clackamas County Commissioners, Estacada mayor also cite value of community support in aftermath of wildfires

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard shakes hands with Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine while discussing the Riverside and Dowty Road fires.

In the aftermath of the Riverside and Dowty Road fires, a children's slide stands while the house the kids lived in is lost. A sign on a church tells readers to encourage someone, while the building behind it has been reduced to charred remains.

"What we've just experienced was, in some ways, going on a trip down others' memory lane. Some of the images were absolutely heartbreaking," said Commissioner Sonya Fisher after Clackamas County leaders participated in a tour of affected areas on Wednesday, Sept. 23. "The communities have been impacted, yet not destroyed, because this community has really come together to support each other. It is really a beautiful thing."

As of Wednesday, the Riverside Fire is 138,027 acres and 31% contained, while the nearby Dowty Road Fire is 1,509 acres and 91% contained.

As a result of both fires, 150 structures were lost — 50 of which were homes. There have been no deaths from either incident.

Firefighters from across the country are working to contain the flames. Southwest Area Incident Management Team Commander Alan Sinclair cited relationships formed with local and regional crews working on the fire as an integral part of this process.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Southwest Area Incident Management Team Commander Alan Sinclair discusses the Riverside Fire on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

"We were traveling from all over the country. We were strangers coming in, and we needed to rapidly build relationships," he said, thanking Clackamas County staff who helped make that possible.

Sinclair noted an "unusual amount" of citizens remained behind to help fight the Riverside Fire but added that he cannot condone doing so because community members may not have professional training.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Trees near Eadon Road in unincorporated Clackamas County were left charred as a result of the Dowty Road Fire.

Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Bernard said, "Our hearts go out to those who have lost their homes and their property."

"There's a lot of thanks here," Bernard continued. "A lot of homes were saved and the firefighters are still out there putting out spotting areas. What an amazing group of people who have done so much for the county … We have a lot to do together. We have a lot to rebuild and a lot of folks that are going to need help, and Clackamas County is here to help."

Bernard also thanked Estacada Mayor Sean Drinkwine for his efforts during the wildfires.

"I would be remiss if I didn't thank the locals," Drinkwine said. "The locals came to fight this fire. They didn't care what would happen to them. They just stepped up and got it done, and I think that's something we've got to remember. It's the heart and soul of our little city that got this done."

Drinkwine also expressed gratitude to the firefighters who came from across the country.

"The people out here have been tremendous. I can't say enough good things about everybody out there traveling to good old Estacada," he said.

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