Milo McIver State Park reopens after fire that caused evacuations
Areas of Milo McIver State Park, including its campground, have reopened two weeks after a wildfire prompted campers and nearby residents to evacuate.
The fire started on Sept. 9 and quickly spread due to high winds, hot weather and dry conditions. A dozen different fire agencies responded to the fire, and firefighters were able to put the blaze out by afternoon the next day.
In all, the fire burned 30 acres, including 15 acres within the park, according to local and state officials. About 550 homes near the park were evacuated between Sept. 9 and 10.
A home and a barn were destroyed by the fire. Another home sustained damage after embers started a fire in the attic, officials with the Estacada Fire District said. No one was injured during the fire.
Fire crews continue to mop up the fire, which involves extinguishing or removing burning material and removing any hazardous trees or snags.
The cause of the fire hasn't been determined. The Oregon Department of Forestry and Estacada Fire are continuing to investigate. Officials say the investigation is expected to be completed around mid-November. If someone is determined to be responsible for a fire, they are liable for firefighting costs under state law.
The park's campground reopened Saturday, Sept. 23, days after the Riverside day use area, including the viewpoint, dog park, equestrian area, Estacada Lake and upper boat launch, reopened earlier in the week, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department officials said.
Several other areas remain closed, including the Riverbend day use area, which includes picnic shelters, restrooms, the disc golf course and the primitive boat launch. It will remain closed while fire crews work on several hot spots and until power is restored to the area and portable toilets are installed.
Also closed due to a power outage are the Kingfisher group camp and picnic shelter. The area won't be available for reservations until power is restored. The Viewpoint Trail is closed due to fire damage.
Lisa Sumption, director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, recognized several park staff members for their quick response to the fire.
After park staff detected the fire, they immediately began evacuating the Kingfisher group camp, which was closest to the blaze near the entrance of the park. They then evacuated all 53 individual campsites.
Those recognized included Park Manager Sam Gibson, Park Ranger Assistant Ahliae Toulouse, Park Ranger Brandon Whiteman, Park Ranger Assistant Jan Kahn and Morgan Watson with Executive Security.
"If they had not been there to help people get out as safely as they did, we could have lost lives," Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Director Lisa Sumption said.
Clay Courtright, the department's manager for the Columbia District, also thanked local citizens, Estacada Fire, Clackamas County Fire District and all the local fire departments for their help in controlling the fire early. Courtright said Oregon State Police and Clackamas County Sheriff's Office also were a big help in assisting park staff with evacuations and securing the area.
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