BEND, OR -- Central Oregon is under a Red Flag Warning Friday, due to gusty winds and extremely low humidity. Bend City Manager Eric King tells KBND News the focus is on two main priorities, "Know your zone: really look at your property, and making sure you’re removing flammable vegetation in and around your house. And then also the idea of Ready, Set, Go: really be on alert and - the message that we should all be ready right now." He adds, "We’re all kind of at a Level One, to be on alert so that if evacuations come, to make sure you’ve got your people, pets, pills and other important documents that are ready to go at a moment’s notice."
King says it’s also important to create defensible space and sign up for Deschutes Alerts, to be notified quickly of an evacuation. Bend’s new Emergency Manager is also now on board, focused on community-wide preparedness, "We have an emergency management system in the county, but Bend has grown to a point where we need to also have a focus here in the city."
The Lookout Fire, burning to our west, is now over 4,200 acres and 0% contained. Air quality in Central Oregon is remains poor, as winds blow that smoke east into the area. An Air Quality Alert has been extended through the weekend. King says we should prepare for smoky skies to stick around, "Comes and goes during the day but it is probably going to be with us for a while. Some of the terrain that fire is in, as well as the Bedrock Fire, is pretty rough. So, to get that fire down, it’s going to take mother nature to fully put it out; so it might be with us for a while, unfortunately." The Bedrock Fire is also in the Willamette National Forest. It’s more than 26,500 acres and about 20% contained.
To check the air quality in your area, visit the Oregon Smoke Blog.
photo: smoke settles into northern Deschutes County, 08/18/23