The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Early-Season Wildfire Threatens Homes, Buildings in Oregon
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
Oregon Department of Forestry
"It was a big shock, especially around here," Lyons resident Brianna Schott, who was forced to evacuate, told the Salem Statesman Journal. "We've had little field fires, but this is the biggest event I can remember. We just had snow, and now this?"
Another Lyons resident, Bryan Wolf, said he hadn't seen a wildfire like this since moving to Lyons in 2002.
"They called us on the home phone here and told us to evacuate twice," Wolf told the Salem Statesman Journal. "We just thought we'd stay put for a little while, keep our eye on it because the wind was still blowing to the east and the fire was headed down river. Once the wind slacked up a little bit, it started coming back and burning more vegetation close to the river, and it got to be a little bit scary for us. The firefighters showed up with their engine and pumper and we felt pretty secure after that."
The length of the wildfire season in the Western U.S. has increased due to warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt, the National Climate Assessment found. The Northwest has warmed nearly two degrees Fahrenheit since 1900, which is at least partly attributable to human-caused climate change, the assessment further found. According to Climate Central's States at Risk, the area burned by fires in Oregon each year has increased around 18 times in the last decade compared to an average year in the 1970s. More than 1.2 million Oregonians, or 33 percent of the state's population, live in areas with increased fire risk.
The Salem Statesman Journal explained the progression of Tuesday's fire:
A grass fire was reported Tuesday afternoon near North Santiam State Park between Mehama and Mill City on the Marion County side of the North Santiam River.
An emergency citizen alert was issued about 3 p.m. for those who live in the area to evacuate.
Hours later another grass fire was spotted near Gates on Garden Lane separate from the Santiam State Park fire. That fire required no evacuations.
Then, another grass fire was reported about 5 p.m. near Neighbors Lane in Lyons, and those within a 3/4-mile radius were asked to evacuate.
The Santiam Park fire and Neighbors Lane fire merged due to strong winds in the area.
The fire is being battled by the ODF along with the Lyons Fire Department, Mill City Fire Department and Sublimity Fire Department.
"We ask that you please stay clear of the area and that if you were asked to evacuate to please do so," the Linn County Sheriff's Office wrote in a Facebook post.
The Red Cross has designated the Mari-Linn Elementary School as an evacuation center.
"At this time it is not expected that the evacuation will be lifted for at least the next 24 hours. If you would like to help those displaced you may do so by bringing food, water, supplies to the school," the sheriff's office said.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Gina Lopez, a former Philippine environment secretary, philanthropist and eco-warrior, died on Aug. 19 from brain cancer. She was 65.
Thousands of union members at a multibillion dollar petrochemical plant outside of Pittsburgh were given a choice last week: Stand and wait for a speech by Donald Trump or take the day off without pay.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Simon Mui
States across the country are stepping up to make clean cars cheaper and easier to find. Colorado's Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) voted Friday to adopt a Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) program that will increase the availability of electric vehicles in the state, improve air quality and increase transportation affordability.
By Annemieke Tsike-Sossah
World Humanitarian Day offers an opportunity to take stock of where the world stands on addressing humanitarian issues and highlight lessons for how to improve in the future. Here are five ways we all can commit to driving positive change for the world.
Some 183 nations are set to discuss possibly loosening elephant and ivory exports at the World Wildlife Conference on trade in endangered species, known as CITES, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.