SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Governor Tina Kotek invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Bensel Fire to allow the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) to mobilize additional resources to protect life and property. Earlier Sunday, OSFM mobilized fire boss air tankers and a helicopter to support firefighting efforts. The OSFM resources will provide structure protection for homes near the Bensel Fire. Level 1, 2, and 3 evacuation orders are in place through the Umatilla County Sheriff’s Office for homes threatened by the Bensel Fire. With the declared conflagration, OSFM will mobilize structural firefighters, equipment, and the Green Incident Management Team.
“Although portions of Oregon are receiving rain, this is a stark reminder that we are not out of wildfire season yet,” said Oregon State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple. “We are asking the people of Oregon to help prevent human-caused fires by remaining wildfire aware.”
In accordance with ORS 476.510-476.610, Governor Kotek determined that the fire poses a threat to life, safety, and property, and the threat exceeds the firefighting capabilities of local firefighting personnel and equipment. The governor’s declaration cleared the way for the state fire marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources in battling the fire and further support a coordinated response.
The OSFM’s Green Incident Management Team will be briefed and assume unified command of the Bensel Fire at 8 a.m. on September 4, 2023. The structural task forces are coming from counties throughout Oregon through the Oregon Fire Mutual Aid System.