Reports of fatalities are emerging and five small towns have been largely destroyed as unprecedented wildfires continue to burn across Oregon on Wednesday, September 9. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate and Governor Kate Brown has requested federal assistance to help deal with the fires. Brown reported on Wednesday that the communities of Detroit in Santiam Valley, Blue River and Vida in Lane county, and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon have been substantially destroyed by the fire. Local news have reported that two people have died and one person seriously injured by a wildfire near the community of Lyons in the Santiam Valley. The Jackson County Sheriff also reported that one person died near Medford due to the fast-moving Almeda Fire, which began on Tuesday, September 8. This fire has reportedly burned structures and was zero percent contained as of Wednesday afternoon. Other major fires still burning among 35 active fires across the state include the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires in Santiam Canyon, and the Holiday Farm Fire near Mackenzie Bridge. Strong winds continue to fuel the fires and a fire official from the Oregon Department of Forestry stated on Wednesday that no part of the state is free from the risk of fires.
Further spread of the fires is likely in the near term. An emergency response presence and localized transportation disruptions, namely road closures, should be anticipated in the affected areas.
Those in the vicinity of the fires are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the area, anticipate possible transport disruption due to firefighting operations and road closures, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities, including evacuation orders.
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