A new fast-moving fire south of The Dalles forced mandatory evacuations and prompted Gov. Kate Brown to invoke the Emergency Conflagration Act.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office told residents near Dufur Wednesday afternoon to leave the area immediately.
The Oregon Department of Forestry says the South Valley fire started at about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday and at about 8:30 p.m. had burned an estimated 9 square miles (23 square kilometers).
Brown’s declaration Wednesday evening authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to assist local firefighters and others battling the fire.
She says the fire was threatening about 100 homes.
Forestry spokeswoman Christie Shaw told KATU-TV that the fire likely was human caused. KATU-TV and other television stations appeared to capture structures burning.
The sheriff’s office also closed part of Highway 197 Wednesday evening.