Firefighters once again are engaged with the Riverside fire near Estacada after taking a tactical pause.
At 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, firefighters were pulled off active response for their safety because of critical conditions and the likelihood of the Beachie Creek fire in the Willamette National Forest merging with the Riverside fire.
"When fires merge, it can create extreme conditions," said Brandon Paxton, captain and public information officer at Clackamas Fire. "We're taking time to take in information and make a plan. We want to take a moment to ensure that our plans are the right ones."
Paxton noted that tactical pauses like these are common when fire conditions change significantly.
Because of low visibility, crews plan to use aerial imaging to gather additional information about the size and position of the fire.
Because of the Riverside fire and the Dowty Road fire, Estacada, Eagle Creek, Barton, George, Dover, Dodge and Springwater are on Level 3 evacuation, meaning residents should leave immediately.
Earlier Thursday, Estacada city leaders encouraged anyone who had not already evacuated to do so.
"City officials were just advised by the County Emergency Operations Center that the fire has become too difficult to control and therefore too dangerous to fight right now," a post on the city's Facebook page said. "They have pulled all firefighters off the fire-lines and out of Estacada. If you have not evacuated, you must do so now. At this point there will be no firefighters protecting the City.
Along with crews who currently are working on the fires, a team of Federal Emergency Management Agency firefighters out of Texas and five engines from Utah will arrive in Clackamas County shortly.
"Your firefighters are still working hard on the wildfires in Clackamas County. They are still in the areas impacted by the fires," Clackamas Fire wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday evening. "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."
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