Eagle Creek Fire measures more than 33,000 acres, 7% contained
Information updated as of 4:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.
CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – The Eagle Creek Fire measures 33,328 acres and is 7 percent contained as of Friday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
By the afternoon, however, the Hood River County Sheriff's Office expanded and updated its evacuation notices because of increased fire activity. A new Level One (Be ready for a potential evacuation) has been issued along Collins Road in Dee at the south end to Interstate 84 on the north end. The sheriff's office also expanded a Level 2 (Get set to leave) on the northeast half of Cascade Locks. It is being extended east to Viento State Park along the I-84 corridor. (Click here for a detailed look at the evacuation notices as well as maps.)
Traci Weaver, a fire communications specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, spoke at a news briefing with the fire response team.
She said the moderate weather and clear skies are helping. Crews can now use aviation resources to drop water on the fire.
Thursday, they did bucket drops directly behind Cascade Locks.
Friday, they might do a burnout operation above Corbett if the conditions allow.
Weaver stressed that the work doesn’t end once the fire is contained.
“This is not a short-term event. After the fire passes through, we’ll have a lot of rehabilitation that will need to occur in the fire area,” Weaver said.
She said there are about 2,000 hazard trees along Interstate 84.
ODOT says it’s looking at ways to open I-84. They’re considering opening the westbound lanes before the eastbound lanes.
ODOT Region 1 Manager Rian Windsheimer said inspectors have been evaluating bridges and tunnels and reports show most structures were not significantly damaged.
Crews are keeping the roads clear for firefighters.
Sen. Ron Wyden made an appearance at the news briefing.
He said he’s pushing for more federal funding to help prevent forest fires before they start.
“The government short changes the prevention fund. It gets hot; it gets dry. You have a lightning strike or, as we know here, looks like a firecracker was involved and all of a sudden, you have an inferno on your hands,” he said.
Wyden said he can’t ever recall seeing wildfires of this magnitude.
Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese spoke again at the briefing.
He said the sheriff’s office is working with fire officials to determine when it’s safe for residents to return to their homes.
Deputies are working 12-hour shifts to keep communities and properties safe.
The U.S. Coast Guard is also working to protect vessels on the Columbia River. The river is still closed to boats from milepost 126 to 146. The Coast Guard is working to scale the closure back to milepost 154 to 158.
Commercial vessels are allowed through on a case-by-case basis.
The Coast Guard also warned the public to avoid the area because helicopters are collecting water out of the Columbia River.
Last to speak was Monique Dugaw from the Red Cross. She said the Red Cross is currently helping approximately 200 people under evacuation orders.
The best way to help is through a financial donation. You can designate your donation to the local Red Cross or to Oregon wildfires.