In response to the Smith River Complex fires, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek has activated the Emergency Conflagration Act. This move grants the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) the authority to deploy vital firefighting resources aimed at safeguarding both lives and property.
The Smith River Complex fire, which initially originated in California, has now surged across state borders into Oregon, prompting heightened concerns for local communities. With Level 3 evacuation orders in place and the fire showing no signs of relenting, Governor Kotek took the decision to invoke the Emergency Conflagration Act, allowing the OSFM to mobilize additional firefighting teams, equipment, and an incident management team.
The OSFM is taking action by sending in reinforcements, including firefighters, specialized equipment, and an incident management team, all dedicated to providing structure protection for homes and properties threatened by the fire. In line with the provisions outlined in ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that the scale of the fire’s threat surpasses the firefighting capabilities of local personnel and resources.
Governor Kotek’s declaration effectively clears the path for the state fire marshal to collaborate with local resources in the battle against the fire. This unified effort not only enhances the firefighting capability but also facilitates a coordinated response to ensure the most effective management of the crisis.
The OSFM’s Blue Incident Management Team is slated to assume unified command of the Smith River Complex fire starting August 29th at 8 a.m. This strategic move is part of an overarching plan to effectively combat the fire’s spread and minimize its impact on Oregon communities.
In a show of mutual aid, multiple structural task forces from various counties across the state are being mobilized through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System.
You can track these fires through our 2023 Wildfire Season partner’s Wildfire Aware app.