After nearly a week of virtually nonstop work on the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire, as of Monday afternoon, Sept. 14, the wildfire in Washington and Yamhill counties has been 100% contained, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue announced.
The fire burned an estimated 875 acres and destroyed at least three structures, but all homes in the area were saved with the efforts of firefighters both on the scene and attacking from the air.
Super Scooper air tankers provided crucial air support last week as firefighters fought to keep the wildfire from spreading further or leaping to homes. The tankers used Henry Hagg Lake to the west to refill and dumped load after load of water on the wildfire.
Several hundred people were evacuated Tuesday night, Sept. 8, into Wednesday, Sept. 9, as the fire grew in size and intensity.
The last of the Level 3, "Go Now," evacuation orders were lifted Sunday, Sept. 13, with the fire then at 75% containment. Much of the area remains at Level 2, "Be Set," under which residents should be prepared to evacuate again if needed.
"Though all Level 3 evacuations have been lifted, residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and prepared to leave if conditions change," TVF&R said in a statement Monday afternoon. "Firefighters will continue to mop up hot spots throughout the week."
Some stumps and vegetation in the area may still be smoldering and putting off smoke, TVF&R noted. If residents see flames or are concerned, they should call 9-1-1 right away.
The fire agency also asks returning residents to check for hot spots or embers on their property, including their roof, and inspect wells and pumphouses to ensure they are still in working order.
Portland General Electric has fully restored power to the area after shutting off power to some streets to aid firefighting efforts.
The Oregon Department of Forestry, which provided the air support for the firefighting operation, also acknowledged contributions from Weyerhaeuser and Mount St. Helens Reforestation, private companies that assisted with firefighting efforts over the past week.
By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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