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Oregon Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Wildfires

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday as wildfire danger increased across the state.

Rising temperatures, high winds and dry conditions are likely to persist through at least the remainder of the week, creating a high chance of wildfires spreading across Oregon.

"As Oregon faces a near record-breaking heatwave, the threat of wildfires increases," Brown said in a statement.

Red flag warnings were issued across the state this week, as temperatures in the Willamette Valley crested 100 degrees in many places.

Brown's state of emergency order allows Oregon to deploy the National Guard as needed to help the Department of Forestry with firefighting.

The fire danger was evident in the Whitewater Fire burning in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area. On Monday the fire had scorched around 300 acres, but by Tuesday morning it had ballooned to more than 1,500.

Fire officials there said winds and continued high temperatures are likely to fuel the fire over the next few days.

Brown urged all Oregonians to follow burn bans during the "critical fire danger situation."

"This declaration of emergency will ensure have the resources needed to minimize the impact of wildfires," Brown said.

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Ryan Haas has been with Oregon Public Broadcasting since 2013. His work has won numerous awards, including two National Magazine Award nominations for the podcast "Bundyville." Prior to working at OPB, Haas worked at newspapers in Illinois, Florida, Oregon and the Caribbean.