Eagle Creek Fire estimated to be more than 34,000 acres

More than 900 firefighters are working to contain the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge. Other local officials are working to keep pets safe and inform the public. Photo courtesy Multnomah County Communications

CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. – Firefighters completed a successful burnout operation to protect Cascade Locks from the Eagle Creek Fire Sunday.

The fire measured more than 34,000 acres Monday, according to Jim Whittington from the Bureau of Lane Management and the National Incident Management Team.

He said the skies were finally clear enough for an infrared flight over the fire. Since the last flight, he estimates the fire has grown 1,000 acres. Part of the increased size was created by firefighters’ burnout operations he said.

According to InciWeb, the fire remains 7 percent contained.

Officials say the fire is holding at the lower edge of Herman Creek.

Firefighters hope the changing winds from the east will blow the fire back on itself.

Oregon State Fire Marshal crews finished assessing and protecting structures in the Level 1 evacuation area in Hood River County. The crews will continue working day and night shifts along Interstate 84.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal has started reducing the number of crews assigned to the fire now that the fire isn’t as threatening to structures.

Officials said heavy smoke obscured a large part of the southern fire perimeter most of the day Sunday. This prevented firefighters from using aerial resources.

They said with the change in winds Monday, fire managers should be able to get a clear look at the fire perimeter on the east and south side above the Bull Run Watershed. They’ll also be able to find and extinguish hot spots.

The wind could cause increased fire behavior, but not extreme fire behavior, they said.

Monday, firefighters will finish mopping up along the northwestern perimeter near Cascade Locks.

There are 24 crews assigned to the fire.

ODOT continues to work with fire officials on opening Interstate 84. They still plan to open the westbound lane before the eastbound lane.

Kim Dinwiddie from ODOT says the eastbound lane won’t be open until rocks and trees are cleared from the lane. She expects it will remain closed for at least a week.

One major problem is a rock slide near the Tooth Rock Tunnel.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the Columbia River opened to all traffic Sunday night. However, anyone near the water should avoid helicopters and planes as they collect water for bucket drops.

The Red Cross says there are more than 170 evacuees staying in their shelters. They said there’s been an increase in people staying in the Stevenson shelter.

They said the best way to help is to make a financial donation online, or by phone. Call 211 for donation information.

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