Oregon’s Wildfires Force Mass Evacuations

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Buildings are engulfed in flames as a wildfire ravages central Oregon. image: Twitter

Thousands of petrified residents have slowly been rescued from their homes as the fires in the area continue to devour anything in their paths.

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Tired, hungry and scared- thousands of people have so far been rescued from their burning homes around Oregon as monster blazes with temperatures of over a thousand degrees continue their devasting path towards the centre of the city. An unprecedented spate of deadly wildfires raging across Oregon had kept half a million people under evacuation alert as weary firefighters took advantage of improved weather to go on the offensive against the blazes. Dozens are now feared dead as firefighters battle two massive Oregon blazes.

Home-owner returns to what is left of her family dwelling this morning and the realisation dawns- there is nothing left. image: Twitter

Social media was almost bought to a standstill as pet owners were literally crying for help while trying to get their animals to safety. Many bursting into tears and holding on to their vehicles, refusing to leave but eventually forced into the fire trucks. Witnesses reported the situation was so heartbreaking that even hardened fire crews had to bite their lips as they looked away in distress while they tried to console grown men, screaming out in agony at losing their beloved pets. The Twitter video below was supplied by Nicole Funke.


Hundreds of firefighters bravely battled two large wildfires on Friday that threatened to merge near the most populated part of Oregon as the governor announced the grim news that dozens of people are missing or unaccounted for in other parts of the state. Skys were turned red and smoke could be seen for miles last night as fire crews continued their fight against the relentless power and force of the blazes.

The state’s emergency management director Andrew Phelps said officials are “preparing for a mass fatality event” and that thousands of structures have been destroyed. Governor Kate Brown said more than 40,000 Oregonians have been evacuated and about 500,000 are in different levels of evacuation zones, either having been told to leave or to prepare to do so.

 

UPDATE on Approx. 30 Huskies Abandoned in Path of Oregon Wildfire, By Nathan Clements:

Many of you in the Oregon and Washington area may have seen a viral post yesterday about approximately 30 Huskies that were set loose in an enclosed area and abandoned in the path of the Riverside Fire near Portland, OR. Through circumstances we are surely not fully aware of, this did indeed happen. Yesterday afternoon, myself and some courageous volunteers, most of whose names I didn’t even get, entered the Level 3 evacuation zone, secured all remaining dogs on the property, and removed them in vehicles, crates and horse trailers.

We hauled the dogs in a convoy to the Oregon State Fairgrounds where a temporary wildfire relief center has been setup for displaced animals and individuals. Here we were met with an amazingly helpful staff of volunteers, Marion County and Humane Society officials who helped set up crates and kennels for the dogs overnight. Mary Anne and I stayed at the fairgrounds to monitor and tend to the 24 recovered dogs overnight with snacks, cots and blankets generously provided by the Red Cross.

Mary Anne & I communicated with many, many, people overnight who generously offered to foster and/or transport dogs if needed and we are extremely grateful to those individuals and to the northern breed and mushing communities as a whole for stepping up to help, including the Husky Huddle & Malamute Mingle of Oregon members.

This morning the owner of the dogs arrived to help determine what to do with the displaced dogs. 7 older retired husky mixes have been relinquished to the Humane Society (I will provide more information below) for healthcare and later adoption, and 16 have been generously accepted to be temporarily boarded at the Newberg Animal Shelter where their health and well-being will be evaluated and treated as necessary.

For those of you who wish to donate food, supplies or money for the relinquished 7 dogs, or who are interested in adoption, or are with a rescue, please reach out to the Willamette Humane Society. See photo with information. Huge thanks are in order to the Newberg Animal Shelter for taking on 16 husky mixes at once! We are incredibly grateful to them. These 16 dogs will receive medical care, and appropriate follow-up will be conducted by the authorities having jurisdiction.

Many people are unaware that there is actually a sizeable group of mushers in the Pacific Northwest, and as a member of our local sled dog community I must address the claims that these dogs are or were sled dogs. While the owner of the dogs had been heavily involved in dogsledding in decades past, and while some of the older dogs may potentially be retired sled dogs, the business is no longer involved in dogsledding or the dogsledding community, despite what information may be claimed on promotional material for the owner’s business.

Every musher in our community would sooner die with their dogs than leave them abandoned. Currently we have multiple mushing kennels in the area who have been displaced by the wildfires and are camping with their dogs. If you would like to learn more about the sport of dogsledding and/or meet mushers and sleddogs in our community, or help with wildfire displacement assistance, reach out to the Cascade Sled Dog Club (https://www.cascadesleddogclub.com/).

Once again, I just want to express how thankful I am for all the strangers who risked their lives with me to pull these dogs from a dangerous situation, the many many volunteers who staff the evacuation center at the Oregon State Fair Grounds, the Willamette Humane Society, the Newberg Animal Shelter, the countless individuals from online who were willing to lend a hand and resources in any way that they could, and Mary Anne and Brian who stuck with me the whole way. We could not have pulled this off without this amazing community.




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