Warmer weather will test progress fighting fire
Drier and warmer Sunday tested the progress recently made fighting the fires in the Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon State Fire Marshal said Sunday morning.
A full area closure for the Hood River Ranger District west of Highway 35 and north of the Mt. Hood Wilderness was announced Sunday afternoon. The expanded closure is a result of extreme fire danger and to provide for firefighter safety during fire operations for the Eagle Creek Fire.
All roads, trails and National Forest System lands within this area were closed. This closure mirrors the actions of Hood River County Lands and is being implemented in coordination with Hood River County and the Hood River County Sheriff's Office.
With more than 33,000 acres consumed so far, the fire remains only 7 percent contained. But a break in the weather Saturday allowed firefighters to prepared to better defend the Bull Run Watershed. Fire has only penetrated a little way into the protected area that is the primary source of most of the region's water so far.
Scouting is also underway all along the southeast and eastern flanks of the fire to tie together a series of roads and trails to create a barrier to the fire's eastern progression without putting firefighters in hazardous conditions encountered during a direct attack, the fire marshall said.
In addition, structural crews are assisting at west end of the fire with burnout operations. A structure fire engine and a water tender will be at Multnomah Falls. OSFM crews will also be assisting with burnout in Cascade Locks and performing structure protection in the Level I Evacuation Zone in Hood River.
On Saturday, conditions were calm over the Eagle Creek Fire for most of the day. As early smoke and clouds cleared later in the day, fire managers took the opportunity to make aerial observations of the fire. Their flight showed many reasons to be positive about progress being made toward containing the fire.
In addition, firefighters continued to close off the western end of the fire near Bridal Veil by strengthening line with burnouts. That burn didn't really take hold until the afternoon hours when it finally got some sun and lower humidity. Much of the southwest side, difficult to reach because of steep, rugged conditions actually burned back on itself throughout the day.
The fire started on Sept. 2.
Community meetings set Monday
Two community meetings have been scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, to share information about the Eagle Creek Fire. Times and places are:
• 6 p.m. at the Edgefield Amphitheater, 2126 Halsey Street, in Troutdale
• 7:00 p.m. at the Marine Park Pavilion in Cascade Locks
Additional fire, closure and evacuation information:
• Inciweb: inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5584/
• Twitter: twitter.com/eaglecreekfire
• Oregon Smoke Information: oregonsmoke.blogspot.com/
• Multnomah County Sheriff Flash Alert: www.flashalert.net/id/MCSO
• Hood River County Sheriff: www.hoodriversheriff.com/news/breaking-news/
• Road Closures: tripcheck.com
• Firewise Information: www.firewise.org/
Current fire crew levels
According to the OSFM, the following personnel and equipment is current assinged to fighting the fire: 969 personnel, including Type 1 (hot) crew, 12 Type 2 crews and 5 Type 2 Initial Attack Crews with 96 Engines and 10 helicopters.