Oregon governor invokes emergency response for wildfire relief

July 8, 2021

Land Line Staff


Concerns over a wildfire in southern Oregon have prompted the state’s governor to issue an emergency order suspending certain motor carrier regulations in order to help fight the fire.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Bootleg Fire in Klamath County.

Specifically, the order serves as a permit for loads with legal axle weights up to 105,500 pounds that do not already have an annual permit to operate on the interstate and state highways of Oregon. Anyone operating in the emergency zone carrying those heavy loads needs to carry a copy of the declaration with them in their vehicle.

The Oregon Department of Transportation issued an email bulletin about the orders. The bulletin advises carriers who are transporting loads outside the parameters covered by the order to contact the Over-Dimension Permit Unit between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific on weekdays at 503-373-0000.

To acquire an over-dimension permit when responding to an emergency outside of normal business hours call 503-931-1541. The bulletin asks carriers to “notify the permit analyst that you are responding to an emergency so your permit can be expedited.”

Further to the north, the Jack Fire closed Old Highway 30 near Interstate 84, 20 miles west of La Grande. The interstate was open in both directions, but smoke from the wildfire was reported in the area.

‘Holdover fires’ remain a risk

In September 2020, more than 1 million acres in Oregon were burned in one of the worst wildfire seasons on record. Eleven people were killed by wildfires.

Drought conditions and record-breaking heat have contributed to unseasonable fire conditions, causing holdover fires to reignite statewide in the footprints of last year’s wildfires, according to the state’s emergency management agency.

Holdover fires are a natural phenomenon and common occurrence in the year following a wildfire, particularly if the area was severely burned.

“Fire managers continue to monitor known holdover fires while looking for new fire starts – on the ground and from the air using infrared technology and detection cameras,” the Oregon Emergency Management Agency said in a news release on July 7.

Individuals who see smoke coming from forestlands should call 911 to report it.

For current road conditions, visit TripCheck. LL


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