PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – State officials are warning Oregonians to prepare for wildfire evacuations now instead of possibly waiting until it's too late.
Wildfire season has come early for the state. The largest fire in the country is burning in southern Oregon and has destroyed more than 388,000 acres. The Bootleg Fire is the 4th largest fire in Oregon in more than 100 years.
Governor Kate Brown warned Tuesday that this will likely be another historic wildfire season.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says that 90% of Oregon is in "heavy" or worse drought. They say these conditions came as a result of the historic heat dome in the state in June. ODF says that put the state in conditions usually seen at the end of August.
Brown and other state officials held a press conference Tuesday to warn Oregonians about being prepared for wildfires this summer.
They said it's important to have a plan in place before a fire begins.
The Office of Emergency Management says you should know if there are evacuation orders in your area and what they mean.
Oregon uses a three-tier system. Level 1 means to "Be Ready," Level 2 means to "Be Set" and Level 3 means to "Go Now."
OEM says once a Level 3 evacuation order is issued, it's time to stop trying to gather things and leave immediately in order to save lives. That's why they say the preparation needs to be done in advance.
They also say that it's possible to only get a Level 1 order before having to leave because of how quickly fires can spread and conditions can change.