Fire Outbreaks and Smoke Causing Visibility Issues for Portland Drivers
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Sep 08, 2020 in Personal Injury
On Monday night, residents in the Portland metro area were issued hazardous air quality warnings due to local wildfires and dangerous levels of smoke that have been further complicated by strong winds gusts in the area.
Rizk Law discusses these latest wildfires, as well as the serious health, safety and driving concerns they are causing to area residents.
If you need legal help after suffering an injury due caused by someone else’s negligence, we encourage you to contact one of our Portland personal injury lawyers as soon as possible. We are prepared to help, and there is no cost for an initial consultation. This free meeting is an excellent opportunity to get answers to your legal questions and find out if you may have a case. If you are unable to come to our office, we have other solutions for this meeting that do not require you to leave your home.
Multiple Brush Fires Complicated by Weather
Oregon’s multiple brush fires, combined with strong easterly winds, is wreaking havoc in the Portland Metro area. While there were no serious injuries reported as of 8:20 PM on Monday, September 7, Portland Fire & Rescue are urging people to stay inside. The state Department of Environmental Quality also issued an advisory for people to remain inside and keep all doors and windows closed. The hazardous air quality, which is dangerous to all residents, poses especially serious risks for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone suffering from lung conditions.
The hot weather season has dried out brush, making it more susceptible to igniting, and the strong gusts of wind have complicated these risks by increasing the chances that the existing fires will spread, and quickly.
Local Wildfire Response
On Monday, Oregon Live news reported that Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, which serves four Portland metro-area counties, had responded to multiple brush fires, as well as a barn fire, in the area.
Portland General Electric is taking unprecedented steps to reduce the risk of further fires igniting by preemptively cutting power to as many as 5,000 residents in the Mount Hood area. Other nearby residents have already lost power, including 49,000 in Portland and 11,000 in Clark County.
Serious Dangers to Residents
In addition to the dangerous air quality, Treena Jensen, a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said people may be at risk for being struck by toppling trees, especially since the wind gusts are expected to strengthen to as much as 50 miles per hour. Jensen said outdoor enthusiasts should avoid being near any trees, which includes walking or hiking in or near any of the forests, until the winds die down.
Portland Fire & Rescue issued a red-flag warning to much of the Northwest until at least 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Risky Driving Conditions
The continuing strong winds have caused a lot of damage and other hazardous driving dangers along Portland Metro’s roadways.
Downed Power Lines and Trees
Travel along many well-used routes and highways in Oregon is extremely dangerous due to the high winds, multiple downed power lines, trees, heavy limbs, and other road debris. Additionally, there are reports of multiple traffic lights that are also non-functioning.
If you must venture out, drivers are advised to check the latest reports of all roads along their planned routes and to be prepared for detours and significant delays. As of Tuesday, September 8, county agencies are continuing to identify the damaged areas. Drivers can check Oregon Live’s updated list of road closures for more information.
Hazardous Air Quality and Reduced Visibility
Reduced visibility is another serious danger that has arisen from the thick smoke for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to the local brush fires, the winds are bringing in even more smoke from fires happening in Washington state and the Oregon cascades.
Normally, people can see distances as far as six miles or more away. However, the thick smoke has reduced visibility to just two-and-a-half miles all along the Willamette Valley, which also significantly impacts road safety. Near Eugene airport, visibility has been reduced to just one mile.
Contact a Trusted Attorney for Legal Help After an Injury
If you can, adhere to local advisories and stay off the roads and indoors until the winds subside and the warnings have been removed. However, if you are injured due to another’s negligence, we strongly recommend that you consider speaking to an experienced attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and best interests.
At Rizk Law, we have been representing injured victims throughout Oregon for nearly twenty years, and we have a proven track record. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients during that time, and we are prepared to pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
Contact our firm at 503.245.5677 anytime, day or night, to schedule your free consultation and learn whether you may have grounds for a case. If we represent you, there is no financial risk. We do not charge any up-front costs, and you pay no attorney fees while we represent you. We only collect our fees at the end of your case, and only if we first recover compensation for you.