EVACUATION AND SHELTERING
Evacuation & Sheltering
During a wildfire, you may be asked to evacuate (leave your home). You may have hours or just minutes to leave. Sign up to receive emergency alerts, and know what to expect if you get an evacuation order.
If you need help locating an emergency shelter, call 2-1-1 or visit 211info.org. Or visit your local county website. Counties are usually in charge of mass sheltering. The Red Cross may assist depending on the size of the emergency.
- Clackamas County - Fire Department on Facebook, Instagram; Sheriff on Facebook
- Clark County - Sheriff on Facebook
- Columbia County - Sheriff on Facebook; Columbia River Fire & Rescue on Facebook
- Multnomah County - Sheriff on Facebook; Portland Fire & Rescue on Facebook, Instagram; Portland Emergency Management on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, NextDoor; Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue on Facebook, Instagram
- Washington County - Facebook, Facebook en Español, YouTube, Instagram, Road Closures; Sheriff's office on Facebook
- Red Cross - Call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767)
Wildfire and wind can impact power service. Track and report Portland General Electric (PGE) and Pacific Power outages. If you encounter a downed or sagging power line, use extreme caution and assume the line is live. Know how to stay safe during a power outage.
Pets, Livestock & Wildlife
If you have pets and livestock, learn about animal preparedness and how to protect pets from wildfire smoke. If you witness wildlife in need of immediate attention, please call your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center. Centers are understaffed and likely to have a high volume of critical patients. They will do their best to return phone calls as soon as they are able.
Please, do not return to your home until local authorities have announced that it is safe. It may seem like the fire is out. But public safety officials can't guarantee your safety until crews have inspected the area. Visit our Recovery page for information about how to stay safe and begin the recovery process.
DONATIONS & VOLUNTEERING
During a disaster, many people want to help by making a donation. It takes a lot of work to collect, organize, and distribute physical materials. Though well intended, please do not take unsolicited donations to evacuation centers, fire stations, firefighting camps, or any other disaster response organization. Counties have received an influx of donations of materials they are unable to distribute. Unsolicited goods burden local organizations’ ability to meet survivors’ confirmed needs, drawing away valuable volunteer labor, transportation, and warehouse space.
Often, the best way to help is with a financial donation to relief organizations actively responding to the disaster. These on-the-ground organizations know what items and quantities are needed, often buy in bulk with discounts and, if possible, purchase through businesses local to the disaster, which supports economic recovery. The following organizations have been vetted and are part of Oregon Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (ORVOAD.org): American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief, Wildland Firefighters Fund, Oregon Food Bank, Oregon Humane Society.
Physical Donations & Volunteering
To donate food, water, and other items, reach out to your local food pantry or the Community Action Partnership of Oregon (503-316-3951) to see if they are able to receive donations. Additionally, Travel Oregon has compiled a list of organizations throughout the state. If you're interested in volunteering, American Red Cross has an urgent need for help. Visit the State of Oregon's Disaster Volunteers and Donations Portal for more information.
Escaped debris burning is the leading cause of human-caused wildfires in our area.
- Chip, compost, or haul your debris to a recycling center.
- Be aware of local burn bans, and only burn fires if you have a permit. View Oregon and Washington burn ban maps.
- Check the weather forecast.
- Clear a 10-foot radius around your burn pile.
- Always have fire tools on site.
- Always stay by your burn pile, as required by state law.
- Never use gasoline.
- Burn yard debris only.
- Make sure your burn pile is completely out. Go back and recheck old burn piles. They can retain heat for several weeks or longer and rekindle when the weather warms and winds begin to blow.
Equipment fires are the second leading cause of wildfires.
- Clean up excess vegetation in the spring, not in the summer when fuels are dry.
- Know if equipment use is restricted. Check with your local forestry department or fire district.
- Use gas-powered equipment early in the day when the humidity is higher and temperatures are lower.
- Use a weed trimmer with plastic line instead of a metal blade.
- Remove rocks and other objects in the area that can strike a blade, create sparks, and start a wildfire.
- Keep the exhaust systems in proper working order, spark arresters clear of carbon build-up, and engines free of oil and dust.
- Keep a fire extinguisher or water-charged hose nearby.
Vehicles can easily create sparks.
- Only park on gravel or paved surfaces to avoid hot exhaust systems from touching dry grass.
- Make sure all parts of your vehicle (such as mufflers and chains) are secure and not dragging.
- Keep vehicles serviced regularly. Check tire pressure, wheel bearing lubrication, and brakes. Worn-out brakes can create metal-on-metal contact, which can create sparks.
- Maintain and clean exhaust systems and spark arrestors.
- Only operate ATVs on established roads and trails.
Campfires are wonderful - and dangerous.
- Be aware of local burn bans, and only burn fires if you have a permit. View Oregon and Washington burn ban maps.
- Do not build a fire near your tent, vehicles, shrubs, trees, or low-hanging branches.
- Clear sticks, dry grass, and other debris around the campfire site.
- Circle the fire pit with rocks.
- Store your unused firewood away from the fire.
- Keep your campfire small and only burn wood.
- Stay near the fire at all times.
- Always have water and a shovel nearby.
- Before going to sleep or leaving the area, make sure it is completely out. Drown the fire with water, stir the ashes, and then drown it again.
- If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.
Cigarette butts can smolder for hours before starting a fire.
- Use deep, sturdy ashtrays.
- Use water or sand to extinguish cigarette butts and ashes.
- Never discard butts on the ground or in vegetation outdoors.
Bullets are extremely hot on impact. Metal jackets can land in dry grasses or other flammable material ignite vegetation.
- Stop target shooting by 1pm, and stay on site for at least an hour afterward to ensure that no fires have started from shooting activities.
- Don’t shoot on very hot, dry days.
- Always shoot into a non-flammable backstop of mineral soil.
- Be sure your target is clear of flammable debris for 20 feet on all sides.
- Always have a fire extinguisher or water and shovel ready.
- Check all backstops and shooting areas for smoke.
Many cities and counties in the Portland Metro Area banned fireworks in 2021 due to extreme wildfire risk. Violation of these bans can result in heavy fines or jail time. Please respect these bans and consider alternative ways to celebrate, even if your area has not banned them.
Reasons to Skip the Fireworks
- Trauma. Fireworks upset babies and toddlers, veterans, animals, and others sensitive to noise.
- Fire. Our region is extremely dry right now. You could set your home on fire. You could set your neighbor’s home on fire. You could set a fire that leads to an explosion, wildfire, or other large disasters. The 2017 Eagle Creek Fire that burned nearly 47,000 acres was started by one person with a single firework.
- Pollution. Fireworks release chemicals that contaminate the air and water. Cities around the nation are littered for days and weeks after the 4th.
- Injury. People get injured and die because of fireworks. They experience hearing loss, blindness, burns, and other injuries.
- First Responders: It’s been a tough year. Hospitals and first responders are already overwhelmed. Let’s not add to their problems.
- Money. Fireworks are expensive! So are medical bills. And our tax dollars are used to respond to 911 calls and put out fires.
Fireworks are not allowed at any time in national parks and forests, on Bureau of Land Management lands, on U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties, on all Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands, on state beaches, or in state parks and campgrounds.
There are many other ways to have fun and celebrate. Please support local businesses!
- Make a donation to a local animal shelter or your favorite charity.
- Buy a movie projector so you can host neighborhood movie nights.
- Get extra-nice food and drinks for your BBQ.
- Hang festive solar lights and other party decorations.
- Buy supplies for other types of fun, such as these kid-friendly activities:
- Water gun or water balloon fight
- Water or stomp rocket
- Laser or flashlight tag
- Glow sticks
- Silly string
- Backyard movie night
Even if you decide to skip fireworks this year, others may not. Make sure you have a plan to keep your pets safe and comfortable. If you are a veteran needing support, please reach out to the Veteran's Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
If You Must Use Fireworks
- Check current firework bans, and never use fireworks at beaches, state parks, or state or federal forest lands.
- Store fireworks out of children’s reach, and never let them light fireworks or play with matches and lighters.
- Use fireworks outdoors only.
- Always read and follow label directions.
- Light only one firework at a time & move away quickly.
- Do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand.
- Never re-light “dud” fireworks. Wait 15-20 minutes, then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have water handy (a garden hose or a bucket of water).
- Soak used fireworks thoroughly in a bucket of water before putting them in your garbage bin.
- Unused fireworks should never be put in garbage or recycling bins. Store them in a cool dry place away from flammables. If you would like to safely dispose of unused fireworks, you can take them to the following locations. No questions will be asked and no personal info will be collected, even if the fireworks are illegal. Call 503-234-3000 or visit Metro's website for additional information.
- Portland: Metro Central transfer station at 6161 NW 61st Ave. (503-234-3000)
- Oregon City: Metro South transfer station at 2001 Washington St. (503-234-3000)
- Hillsboro: From July 1-30, 8am-4pm Monday through Friday. Ring the doorbell to be greeted by a staff member, and please do NOT leave them at the front door unattended. They must be physically handed to a staff member.
- Main Station 1, 240 South 1st Avenue, Hillsboro Oregon, 97123
- Ronler Acres Station 3, 4455 NE Century Blvd, Hillsboro, OR 97124
When buildings ignite during a wildfire, it's usually a result of embers or small flames. There are several steps that you can take to reduce the risk to your home or business.
- Create a 30-foot defensible space around your home that is free of combustible material. Fire follows fuel. Make sure your landscape is LEAN (plants are spaced apart), CLEAN (free of flammable debris), and GREEN (healthy and watered often).
- Clean up dead or dying plants, branches, leaves and needles. Remove debris from under decks, stairs, gutters, and roofs. Trim branches that are overhanging roof and within 10 feet of chimneys.
- During fire season, move wood piles 30 feet from all buildings.
- Remove flammable plants and replace with fire-resistant species.
- Prune tree branches to a height of 6-10 feet to remove “ladder fuels.”
- Cut grass to less than four inches, but do it early in the day when humidity is high and the wind is low. A whirling metal blade can strike a rock and cast sparks.
- Keep shrubs low and away from the drip line of trees.
- Keep your driveway clear of debris to allow fire engine access.