LINCOLN CITY — Many residents near Lincoln City face the startling reality that their homes were heavily damaged or destroyed by the Echo Mountain Complex fire.
Though a final official tally of the number residences lost due to the fire in Otis, the Panther Creek area and elsewhere is not yet unavailable, many believe those totals will be measured in the hundreds.
While Level 3 evacuation orders still remained for parts of the area near the fire complex as of the News-Times press deadline, residents not yet allowed to return home could request a property status check from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office by calling the county’s call center at 541-265-0621 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week. Property status checks could also be requested by filling out a form here: https://tinyurl.com/yyoq97fm.
So what should residents do in the event their home was damaged or destroyed by the fire?
According to the Lincoln County Emergency Management website (https://bit.ly/35AOMeR), the first step is contacting the homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible and ask an agent how best to proceed.
Those without homeowner’s or renter’s insurance may receive guidance and assistance from entities such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, religious organizations, public agencies, community groups, state and local emergency services providers and nonprofit crisis counseling centers.
Those in need of insurance claim assistance can contact United Policyholders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people and businesses navigate the process, at uphelp.org.
Next, Lincoln County Emergency Management recommends taking care of family members and housemates. Disaster relief services offered by organizations such as the Red Cross and Salvation Army can connect those in need with resources such as food, clothing medicine and places to stay. Emergency management recommends during stressful times during disasters that damage victims do their best to stay well rested, to reach out to others for help when necessary and do not to try and go it alone.
Only then does the county recommend assisting pets and livestock. Attempt to comfort pets and handle them more carefully than one would during non-emergency situations. Often, scared pets react by biting or clawing at caregivers.
If pets must be left to be cared for by others, try to leave them with a family member, trusted friend or veterinarian when returning to a damaged residence. For pet safety, keep them out of the damaged area until cleanup is complete. Try locating missing pets by calling the Lincoln County Animal Shelter at 541-265-6620, ext. 6.
The state of Oregon has a comprehensive wildfire resources website found at wildfire.oregon.gov. The site includes links connecting visitors to county news and alerts, current fire and weather conditions, recommendations on what to back during an evacuation, connecting to further resources and more.
On Monday, Travel Oregon updated its online list of ways to help evacuees and first responders. Find it at https://tinyurl.com/y6xpbepn.
The Red Cross and KGW 8 TV are receiving donations to their Northwest Response Fund. Donate by texting the “relief” to 503-226-5088, or donate directly to the American Red Cross’ three Oregon chapters by visiting https://tinyurl.com/y4s6pp5b.