Estacada community makes safety plans with McIver State Park Fire evacuations

Published: Sep. 11, 2022 at 8:58 AM PDT
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ESTACADA, Ore. (KPTV) - People living in Estacada are staying alert after a fire broke out Friday night at Milo McIver State Park, forcing people to leave their homes.

As of Saturday night, the fire is contained at 25 acres.

Midday Saturday, about a dozen homeowners made their way out to the local fire station looking for answers when they received an emergency notification. People like Alex Hughes, who said, “we just evacuated our horses last night, and we were planning on bringing them in tomorrow.”

The glow in the sky is concerning neighbors, as daylight shining through the thick smoke resembles the Riverside Fire of only a couple years ago.

“It kind of brings back some memories of where the fire was only a half a mile from our farm,” Hughes said.

Others caught in the mix are unfamiliar with that fire, like Autumn Hooper, who comes from Vancouver, let alone the area itself. She and her friends are only nearby for a little while.

“We rented an Airbnb for my birthday,” Hooper said.

She’s relying on locals for help, who she said “kind of gave us where we were on the map. It’s nerve-racking that we could potentially be in a dangerous situation.”

Nerve-racking enough to not test fate as soon as they’re told to evacuate. She said they are ready to “pack up the Airbnb and head out.”

The same philosophy goes for locals like Hughes, who has been communicating with the fire department. Friday night, the department predicted where the fire may spread.

“When he waved his hand across the computer, he waved right over our farm,” Hughes said. “We said, ‘we’re out of here right now.’”

They got out like many others. Some were told they could stay at Clackamas Community College, roughly 10 miles away. Overnight, the Red Cross sheltered seven people who were evacuated from the fire.

“We saw photos of the fire cresting some hills close to people’s homes,” said volunteer Roman Perez.

“Yeah,” added Katie Weaver, another volunteer. “That was pretty scary.”

Especially scary for someone who was told to leave their home on a dime, “and not know whether or not they’ve got a home in which to return,” Perez said.

“We’re being overly cautious and making sure that we make the right decision,” Hughes said. “So we don’t get caught in a bad situation.”

In the most recent update at midday Saturday, some of the level 3 areas shrunk to a level two. Officials said with high wind, they’re unsure when everyone will be able to return to their homes.