KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is now citing and even arresting people if they don’t leave Level 3 evacuation areas for the Bootleg Fire. The State of Oregon has a stay-at-your-own-risk rule. But if someone is roaming around outside in a Level 3 area deputies can escort you to safety.
As the Bootleg Fire continues to grow first responders have safety on their minds.
“I just don’t feel people understand what can happen in just a split second that will change the dynamics of the situation out there,” said Gert Zoutendijk, a Bootleg Fire official.
He said residents refusing to evacuate are putting themselves in danger, as well as first responders.
“Everybody out there that is trying to help evacuate people when the fire is really coming is a huge challenge and it’s putting everybody at risk,” said Zoutendijk.
Since last Saturday, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office started citing and arresting people who are in Level 3 areas. This excludes people who choose to stay in their homes during evacuation orders.
“We need people to stay out of there. It’s for their safety and we will be ramping up our effort to keep people out of those areas,” said Brandon Fowler, Emergency Manager for Klamath County.
The Klamath County Board of Commissioners declared the county in a State of Emergency last week.
“We can’t have them getting in the way of the firefighters. We can’t have them getting hurt. At the end of the day we’re trying to protect life,” said Fowler.
The Sheriff’s Office said the evacuation enforcement is to prevent causalities and injuries in such an unpredictable fire. The agency isn’t releasing information on how many people are cited for not following evacuation orders. It is still urging everyone to follow the evacuation orders.
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