The nearby wildfire is still burning, but has had minimal growth recently, currently 37% contained. Which may not sound great, but it’s the important 37% near civilization; the remainder is pretty much wilderness.
All evacuation zones have now been lifted.
To recap, on September 8 we had heavy winds, resulting in major power cuts throughout the region, which whipped a small wildfire into a massive inferno that quickly engulfed thousands of acres — currently 138,126 acres in total. As we were about to head to bed that night, we received a level 2 evacuation warning (“get set”), skipping level 1, meaning we should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. We packed up a bunch of stuff, and after agonizing about it for a while, decided to evacuate to Mom’s place three hours north, along with our dog, two pet cats, and six ducklings.
The next day, the evacuation zone went to level 3 (“go now”), so we chose wisely. We watched the evacuation zones expanding; here’s a GIF of the evacuation map from my phone:
Over the next week, as things got somewhat under control, they reduced the evacuation zones again. On the 14th, we took a day trip down to our homestead to feed the feral cats, chickens, and ducks we left behind.
Here’s a GIF of the reducing evacuation zones (each screenshot a day or more apart):
We returned home on the 19th, glad that our home was spared. 56 houses were destroyed by this fire… which is actually quite low, compared to other fires around the state and entire west coast of the US. For example, the other big fire just south of the “Riverside” one, “Beachie Creek”, destroyed 486 homes and 837 other structures.
For context for NZ people, Clackamas County is about the width of the country by Auckland — from the west coast to beyond Waiheke Island. The “Riverside” fire region is about the size of the entire Greater Auckland city.
Here’s a map that shows how the wildfire progressed; massive expansion on the 8th, then slowing down as the weather changed:
And the latest map of the fire, with the black outline indicating the contained fire line, and red uncontrolled, mostly in the wilderness areas:
The fire will probably continue to smolder until we get lots of rain, but is no longer considered a significant threat.