'Get the hell outta here': Fire evacuates homes near Oregon City
Update: Brush fire brought under control without damaging structures or any injuries reported.
Firefighters battled a wildfire raging between Canby and Oregon City that forced the evacuation of homes near Highway 99E and South End Road.
Although brought under control between 4 and 9 p.m. on July 14, it was the second major brush fire that sent Clackamas County residents running this year, and county officials expect that there will be more such events this season.
Sheriff's deputies went door to door notifying residents of the evacuation orders and the availability of shelter for people and livestock at the county fairgrounds in Canby. After hearing about the blaze, South End Road resident Bill Clark left with as many belongings as he could fit in his vehicle.
"It's only 2,000 feet from my house, so I've got to get the hell outta here," Clark said. "There's room for it to burn pretty good, with all the dry timber in the area."
The blaze temporarily closed all lanes of Highway 99E north of South End Road to Tumwater Drive, near Willamette Falls in Oregon City, according to ODOT.
Smoke can be seen for miles rising near Miracle Rock and above Pearsons Art Gallery. Firefighters from Canby, Clackamas, Tualatin Valley, Colton and Aurora have teamed up to battle the blaze.
By the evening, Clackamas Fire Chief Nick Browne announced that the fire was under control and about a dozen people were allowed to return to their homes. Browne said he appreciated
"It wouldn't have been a successful outcome without the partnership," Browne said.
Joe and Kayla Michielli had to evacuate their home near Oregon City with their 14 horses.
"I noticed by the power lines that there was smoke. I could smell it and see the smoke," Kayla told KOIN 6 News. "Immediately the adrenaline set in. We figured we needed to get the horses out."
The family and neighbors jumped into action.
"My son and I were on deck fighting the fire with the firefighters as it was burning up to the house. It was pretty intense," Joe said.
At one point, about 150 firefighters were on their property working to save their house and stables. All 14 horses got out safely, including a pregnant mare.
The Michiellis said they couldn't be more grateful.
"I can't thank them enough. I ate pizza with them last night and got to know them. Just the self sacrifice they make is so impressive," Joe said. "I told them all, looks like I'll be buying a bunch of beers. I don't think words can express our gratitude."
The Michiellis planned for an evacuation and their planning paid off. Now their message to the community is to have a plan now and be prepared to put that plan into action at a moment's notice.
Browne said the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.