State resources sent to wildfire in remote northeast Oregon

September 3, 2022 GMT

IMNAHA, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown on Saturday invoked the emergency conflagration act in response to a wildfire in remote northeastern Oregon that has grown rapidly and is prompting evacuations.

The Double Creek Fire near the community of Imnaha in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area grew to about 15.6 square miles (40.4 square kilometers) overnight into Saturday, according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office. The fire was detected on Tuesday and started by lightning.

“With many fires actively burning across the state and several weeks of peak fire season ahead of us, I am urging all Oregonians to be prepared,” Brown said in a statement. “Please continue to follow local and statewide fire prevention regulations and share what you know with others. Every fire we prevent helps keep our communities and firefighters safe, and our natural resources protected.”

Brown’s declaration allows the fire marshal to take command and send other agency resources to help local firefighters battling the blaze. Firefighters have been working to suppress the fire with helicopter and air tanker support, officials said.

The Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation notices including those telling people to leave their homes immediately.

State officials said air quality near the blaze was in the unhealthy range on Saturday.