Forest service firefighters respond to Eagle Creek hotspot
A small fire reignited early on Tuesday, May 29 in the Columbia River Gorge from a lingering hotspot from the Eagle Creek Fire.
The hotspot fire was contained at about 3 p.m. on May 29, said Rachel Pawlitz, U.S. Forest Service public affairs officer for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
"They've got it to point that it is no longer smoking and does not appear to be active anymore," Pawlitz said on Tuesday afternoon.
The Eagle Creek Fire, contained in late November 2017, has not yet been declared out, and hotspots are not unexpected.
Fuels and organic material called "duff" can hold heat underground throughout the winter and flare up after periods of warm dry weather.
The recent flare up occurred in an already heavily burned area and smaller types of fuels that can spread far away were not present.
"We don't think it's a threat to our containment," Pawlitz said. "We're not very concerned about it spreading, but we'll be cautious and keep an eye on things."
Forest Service firefighters responded to the blaze after a glow from the flare-up was reported about 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Firefighters located the hotspot, about a half mile east of Herman Creek Trailhead, north of the Gorge 400 trail, which is located about two miles away from city of Cascade Locks.
Two engines and a hand crew from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area were dispatched to the small fire, which was found smoldering in heavy downed timber with few ground fuels.
Pawlitz urged Gorge visitors to to not set off fireworks, which are illegal in all federal scenic areas, and to make sure fires are completely out.
The Eagle Creek Fire was caused by a teenager throwing fireworks into the Eagle Creek canyon.
Hotspots are part of several post-fire hazards that have caused trails to remain closed following Eagle Creek Fire, which started last Labor Day weekend. Other hazards include fire-weakened trees and loose boulders, rockslides and landslides.
For a full list of Eagle Creek Fire closures and more details about response efforts, visit http://bit.ly/eaglecreekfireresponse
If anyone sees a smoke column in the Columbia River Gorge, they should call 911 or contact the Columbia Cascade Communication Center at 360-891-5140.