Lincoln City evacuations remain despite fire suppression progress

Motorists on Wednesday clog Highway 101 southbound in Lincoln City after officials placed much of the northern portion of the city under Level 3 (go now) evacuation orders.

Mayor urges patience

LINCOLN CITY — On Thursday afternoon, a day after officials placed residents of a large swath of the northwest portion of Lincoln City on Level 3 (go now) evacuation orders as firefighting crews battled to contain the Echo Mountain Complex fire, Lincoln City Mayor Dick Anderson pled for area residents to be patient despite the uncertainty of the times.

“The general message is that hopefully everybody is staying as safe as can be, and that they’re following the instructions they’re receiving from officials,” Anderson said. “We really want people to be monitoring all the official communications channels and not relying on unconfirmed reports and secondhand information they’re getting on Facebook and social media.”

Those seeking the latest official information, including up-to-date evacuation areas and links to available resources for displaced residents, can visit the Lincoln County Emergency Management wildfire website at https://bit.ly/32iXmNc. Additional local information is available by calling the Lincoln County Emergency Public Information Call Center at 541-265-0621.

Residents can also sign up to receive official Lincoln County alert updates on their mobile devices at https://bit.ly/2DTaoI0 or visit the Lincoln County Emergency Management page on Facebook. For the most recent information on road closures, go to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Trip Check site at https://bit.ly/3ikiZT1.

Though weather conditions for battling the estimated 2,435-acre blaze improved slightly Wednesday night into Thursday, with winds shifted to a southwesterly flow as opposed to from the east, the majority of the city remained without power, and evacuation orders remained in place as of press time on Thursday.

According to the emergency management website, areas under Level 3 evacuation status as of 2 p.m. Thursday included all of East Devils Lake Road; Northwest 40th Street north to Highway 18 from the ocean to East Devils Lake; Highway 101 from Northeast Devils Lake Road to North Three Rocks Road; Highway 18 to Rose Lodge; North Highland Road and connecting roads; North Slick Rock Creek Road; North Boulder Creek Road; North Sundown Drive; North Bear Creek Road; South Schooner Creek Road; North Meadow Place; North Mable Drive and Forest Road No. 25.

Areas placed under Level 2 status (be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice) included North Widow Creek Road, NF 1861, Northwest 40th south to 12th Street from the ocean to East Devils Lake Road and Northeast East Devils Lake Road and its side roads.

Level 1 (get ready) orders were placed on 12th Street south to Highway 229 (Kernville Highway), North Schwartz Road, and North Salmon Berry Lane and all side streets.

Additional road closures due to downed tress or power lines will be updated on the ODOT Trip Check site.

“Our concern goes beyond just our city limits to the broader community at large,” Anderson said, noting that many Lincoln City staff members still at work live in outlying areas. “We’re trying to assist anybody and everybody we can, but we would really appreciate everyone being a patient as possible as we take the time to get accurate information out to people in a timely manner.”

Anderson said that priorities were to get power restored to the city before residents are allowed to return and to reopen Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital after it closed at 9 a.m. Wednesday and patients were transported to Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis.   

After officials issued evacuation orders Wednesday morning and northbound Highway 101 closed at Northeast 40th Street, the highway’s southbound lane clogged with extremely heavy traffic. Motorists were faced with stop-and-go, bumper-to-bumper congestion southward through Depoe Bay to Newport. 

Despite the uncertainty, smoke and the seemingly dire situation at hand, Anderson told the News-Times that overall, stressed motorists’ tempers remained in check.

“Overall, people were patient,“ Anderson said. “I think people acted well and responded well to the situation. But again, the hope is that people take personal responsibility for remaining collected and remember that everyone is under a lot of stress.”

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