Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



Clackamas Fire: 'We have not abandoned you and are working hard to keep the community safe.'

During a week when the sun should have been shining in blue skies and kids should have been hopping on their devices for the first days of virtual school, the picture was anything but.

PMG PHOTO: ALVARO FONTAN - Drone images show the city of Molalla around 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10.

By afternoon on Thursday, Sept. 10, Molalla was a ghost town covered in ash, and people were fleeing Canby and Oregon City.

The evacuation level in Molalla had been split early in the week with those living south of Highway 211 at a level 3 (go) and those living north at a level 2 (set to evacuate). Then at around 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, the whole city escalated to level 3.

Many had abandoned the town earlier due to poor air quality.

Around that same time, Canby and Oregon City moved to level 2.

For those deciding whether to stay or go, Canby Mayor Brian Hodson offered some advice.

"If you are having a hard time breathing, do not wait, go now," Hodson said in a social media post. "If you are feeling worried, then go now. You do not have to wait for the actual evacuation. Please be safe."

But rest assured, the firefighters remain.

"The No. 1 goal for the Molalla Rural Fire District is to defend Molalla," City Manager Dan Huff said early Thursday morning.

PMG PHOTO: ALVARO FONTAN - The Molalla Fire station is visible through the smoke in Molalla on the afternoon of Thursday, Sept. 10.

Amid rumors that crews had abandoned the fires Thursday, Clackamas Fire sent out a notice on social media.

"To be clear, your firefighters are still working hard on the wildfires in Clackamas County," Clackamas Fire officials said. "They are still in all the areas impacted by the fires and are taking what is called a 'tactical pause.'

"The tactical pause allows our firefighters to reposition into a safe location to get accountability of the firefighters working in the area and evaluate the changing weather and extreme fire conditions.

"We have not abandoned you and are working hard to keep the community safe."

Kristen Wohlers
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