Benton County Winds Down Wildfire Response Efforts

Friday, September 25, 2020

Benton County is winding down emergency response efforts for wildfire response on September 25, 2020. Efforts began on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 to provide mutual aid to nearby communities impacted by local wildfires and evacuation efforts.

Emergency response efforts included distributing timely and accurate information on wildfires and emergency response, providing both human and animal evacuee support, and establishing and implementing a volunteer and donations management plan. Several notable successes of these efforts include:

  • Over 250 hours of service was provided by a total of 46 volunteers. Several sites were staffed by repeat volunteers over multiple days, and all shifts were filled within 24 hours.
  • An average of 30 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served.
  • At peak, a total of 89 guests were signed into clean air shelters. Several clean air shelters with COVID-19 prevention precautions were set up to support evacuees, and over 100 beds were provided. In collaboration with local churches, several clean air shelters were temporarily stood up to provide for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Masks were distributed to agricultural workers to protect them from smoke inhalation while working outdoors.
  • The Benton County Fairgrounds provided an evacuation site to house 181 animals including 91 horses, 26 pigs, 27 cows, 2 sheep, 20 goats, and 15 rabbits. 56 4-H kids representing 10 clubs worked with Rodeo Committee members to clean, feed, water the animals, and walk the horses, and Oregon State University provided veterinarians to monitor animals daily.

Benton County would like to thank those in our community who provided donations for evacuees and those affected by wildfires in Oregon. To aid in distributing donations to those who need them, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management is currently setting up a statewide supply distribution center. Due to an overwhelming amount of donated supplies, Benton County was able to donate additional supplies locally to aid those in our community, in addition to providing supplies to the statewide distribution center. Providing donations to our local community partners helps to support community resilience against disasters and many donations are going directly to evacuees that are in need.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit www.co.benton.or.us/coronavirus.