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Marion County works to ensure vital services during eclipse

Parks like this one in Woodburn will be filled with campers for this month's total solar eclipse. (KATU Photo)

Local agencies are preparing for thousands of visitors to their cities and counties in less than two weeks for the total solar eclipse.

That includes Marion County, which is in the path of totality.

Ed Flick with Marion County's Emergency Management has been planning for every aspect of how to ensure the public's safety during the solar eclipse

But there's one question that he has him perplexed: how many people will visit for the solar eclipse?

"I have no clue," Flick said.

Flick says it's estimated anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 people will visit Marion County. Not everyone is expected to call the Salem area home for the weekend, because many of them will be heading east to Central Oregon.

Whether they stay or pass through, the equation is the same when it comes to expected car traffic for the Willamette Valley.

"We need to make sure fire and EMS get to where they need to be," Flick said. "Try to mitigate some of those issues by putting folks there preemptively."

The county is getting assistance from the air, with a plane from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife loaning a plane that will look to spot wildfires that pop up and looming traffic jams.

"If we can stay ahead of that and predict that then we can keep folks safer, keep that traffic moving better," said Oregon State Police Lieutenant Bob Charpentier.

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