USA — The wildfires in Southern Oregon have ignited a scam: false evacuation alerts.
Three people who live on Hugo Road west of Interstate 5 near Merlin called the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, asking about evacuation orders. They said a person had knocked on their doors, telling them to evacuate to escape encroaching flames.
The evacuation orders were false, said Sheriff Gil Gilbertson. The assumption is that once they left, the person would come back and conduct some kind of nefarious activity, Gilbertson said. There are all kinds of vultures and birds of prey out there looking for victims.
His office has not seen an uptick in thefts, he said, but he warned residents to be careful. When residents are asked to evacuate, a public safety official such as a firefighter, police officer or National Guard soldier will go door-to-door in an official vehicle.
Notices are also issued through news outlets, such as The Oregonian.
A number of fires are burning in southern Oregon. About 100 homes are under an evacuation notice in connection with the Douglas complex of fires west of Glendale, which have charred more than 28,000 acres. Near Merlin, the Big Windy complex has scorched nearly 4,000 acres.
At the moment, the following evacuations are in effect:
Only firefighters or law enforcement officers are allowed between Grave Creek Bridge at Galice Road through the 3100 block of Lower Wolf Creek Road.
People who show proof of residence are allowed from the 3100 block of Lower Wolf Creek Road to the city of Wolf Creek.
Residents of Illinois River Road in are under a Level 2 notice, warning them they might have to leave.
Residents of Bear Camp Road are under a Level 3 notice, a warning of the potential for evacuation.
Lower Wolf Creek Road in Wolf Creek is under a Level 2 evacuation notice.
Lower Wolf Creek Road at Lower Graves Creek Road is under a Level 3 evacuation warning.
Lower Graves Creek from the Graves Creek Bridge is under a Level 3 evacuation warning.
Hog Creek Road at Galice Road is on a Level 2 evacuation notice.
Quartz Creek Road at Galice Road is on a Level 2 evacuation notice.