Portland Water Bureau
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News Release
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Portland Water Bureau monitoring Camp Creek Fire. Portland's drinking water remains safe (Photo) - 09/12/23

The Portland Water Bureau continues to monitor the Camp Creek Fire burning in the Bull Run Watershed, the city’s main water supply. The fire is estimated to be 2,023 acres as of the morning of September 12, and estimated containment has increased to 44 percent. The fire remains approximately 1.3 miles from Reservoir 1 and approximately 1.9 miles from the Water Bureau’s Headworks treatment facility. 

Mayor Ted Wheeler expressed appreciation for the teams and individuals responding to the fire.  

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the people who are working tirelessly to keep us safe and protect our water supply,” said Wheeler. “Fire containment has been steadily growing, but we have a ways to go. I want to thank the Great Basin Incident Management Team who have been leading this first response with expertise. We’re grateful to the incoming Incident Management Team who originate right here in the Pacific Northwest.”  

On Monday night, ongoing management of the fire response was transferred from Great Basin Team 1 to Pacific Northwest Team 3. Personnel from the incoming team were onsite yesterday shadowing their counterparts on the outgoing team to ensure a smooth transition. Water Bureau and other City staff will continue to coordinate with the Incident Management Team regarding fire suppression activities in the watershed. 

Wheeler noted, “I’m incredibly impressed with and grateful for the work being done by our City employees—Portland Fire and Rescue, the Water Bureau, Portland Emergency Management and those other bureaus who’ve stepped up to help.” 

Efforts to create containment lines have been successful, with increased fire containment over the weekend and into this week. Firefighters expect that the containment level will continue to rise as the week goes on. However, fire in the watershed always poses a risk to our water supply. We continue to work closely with fire agencies to monitor the threat levels to our staff and infrastructure. The Water Bureau has developed multiple contingency plans, so we’re prepared in the event of further risk to staff and the water supply. 

The Portland Water Bureau continues to monitor water quality and has yet to see any fire-related impacts to our drinking water.  

No water restrictions are in place currently. If we need to reduce water use, we will ask that all Portland Water Bureau users and customers stop outdoor water use, especially for watering lawns and gardens, and reduce indoor water use when possible.

We will continue to make periodic updates to keep the public informed.  

 

What you can do 

We always encourage the public to be prepared in the event of emergencies. While the fire does not immediately threaten Portland’s water supply, it is important to stay informed, be prepared for emergencies and stay clear of the area to ensure access for emergency responders. 

One way you can prepare for future emergencies is to create or update your emergency water supply. Store enough water for everyone who lives with you, including pets, to have drinking water for two weeks. The Regional Water Providers Consortium has tips to help you get started on your emergency plan. 

Register for PublicAlerts. To ensure you get emergency messages quickly from public safety officials, sign up for text, phone or email updates from PublicAlerts at publicalerts.org/signup 

Follow the Water Bureau on X (Twitter) and Facebook, and visit our website, Portland.gov/water, for the latest information about water quality and supply, updates related to this incident and other Water-related news.  

Information about emergency water storage is available in multiple languages on the Regional Water Providers Consortium website. 

 

Water Bureau will continue to rely on two water sources 

On Thursday, August 24, we activated our groundwater supply to augment the Bull Run supply during the hot and dry summer. At this time, the bureau will continue to rely on a blend of water from the Bull Run Watershed and our groundwater source, the Columbia South Shore Well Field. 

 

About the Portland Water Bureau 

The Portland Water Bureau serves water to almost a million people in the Portland area. Portland’s water system includes two great water sources, 53 tanks and reservoirs, and 2,200 miles of pipes. With 600 employees working on everything from water treatment to customer service, the Water Bureau is committed to serving excellent water every minute of every day. 

View more news releases from Portland Water Bureau.