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Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue has staffed additional four-wheel-drive brush rigs and set up an operations center.

COURTESY PHOTO: TUALATIN VALLEY FIRE AND RESCUE - In this file photo from 2020, a brush rig sits at the ready as smoke rises from a nearby wildfire.Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue says it is prepared to tackle emergency situations that could arise this weekend, with much of northwest Oregon under a red flag warning.

A red flag warning means weather conditions are very conducive to wildfires starting and spreading out of control. The forecast through Saturday, Sept. 10, calls for high daytime temperatures, low relative humidity, and winds that could gust into the 25 to 40 mph range in places.

"In preparation for this wind event, TVF&R has taken measures to respond to increased call volume and potential wind-driven fires," Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said in a statement late Friday morning, Sept. 9, after the red flag warning went into effect.

Among other measures, TVF&R is staffing additional brush rigs, which are firefighting vehicles that have four-wheel drive and can maneuver through rugged areas inaccessible to standard fire trucks.

The fire agency said it also has a fire operations center set up "to manage resources and support fire crews," and it's coordinating with utilities and public safety partners.

Portland General Electric and Pacific Power announced Thursday, Sept. 8, that they would begin deliberately shutting off power to customers in especially high-risk areas, a preemptive measure intended to reduce the risk of fire.

Electrical equipment has been identified as the cause of several major wildfires in recent years, including a fire in September 2020 that forced hundreds of residents west of Gaston to evacuate.

The utility companies have identified "community resource centers" where people without power can gather during the day, giving them a place to charge their electronic devices, get ice and water, and stay cool in the late-summer heat.

TVF&R is hosting a similar community resource center at Station 72, located at 11646 N.W. Skyline Blvd., in coordination with Multnomah County and PGE. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, Sept. 11, unless power is restored before then.

A full ban on outdoor burning is in effect throughout the region.

TVF&R is also asking residents to exercise "extreme caution" this weekend and consider making plans for what to do if they lose power or need to evacuate. Resources are available at tvfr.com/wildfire.


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