Current situation

Rain will move across much of the region today, Oct. 5, diminishing over the weekend. Temperatures will remain below average. Winds will vary across the region as weather systems arrive and depart. The potential for large fire initiation over the region is minimal due to the wet and cool weather today and lingering through the weekend. Fire restrictions in different parts of the state began to be lowered last week based on the local fuel conditions. Check with your local district or forest protection association for restrictions on activities linked to fire starts or use ODF's fire restrictions and closures web page for the latest details at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Eagle Creek and Indian Creek fires merge in the Columbia Gorge

The Eagle Creek and Indian Creek Fires in the Columbia River Gorge have merged and are now being managed as one incident. An infrared fly-over has estimated the combined fires to be 30,929 acres. After experiencing explosive fire behavior on the Eagle Creek Fire last night, firefighters were successful at holding fire growth to moderate levels Tuesday. A spot fire, which spread across the Columbia River early Tuesday near Archer Mountain, is approximately 120 acres today and is being managed by a Washington Department of Natural Resources Type 3 Team.

Structural firefighters led by the Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office saved the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, built in 1925. A task force of structural engines and one aerial ladder truck worked in conjunction with a strike team of water tenders to keep the lodge wetted down during the fire storm of falling embers. Large trees nearby torched and fire crews used hose lines to protect the lodge from heat. Visit the Eagle Creek and Indian Creek Fires Facebook page to see pictures of the lodge.

Ian Yocum, Incident Commander with the Oregon State Fire Marshal said firefighters were successful in protecting other structures as well. “Firefighters had a good day out there. We lost one small residential structure and four outbuildings. We will continue to patrol and access structural protection needs.”

Defending private property, historical structures in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, the various State Parks in the area and the Bull Run Watershed will continue to be top priorities for firefighters.

The I-84 freeway remains closed from Troutdale to Hood River due to rocks, snags and other debris entering the roadway. Oregon Department of Transportation will be working closely with the Unified Command team to determine when it will be safe to open. Detour routes are in place.

Temperatures are expected to be cooler today, but a Red Flag Warning will be in effect in the afternoon for potential lightning. Winds will shift to westerly, which may help improve the unhealthy air quality in the greater Portland metropolitan area. Those west winds, however, could propel fire growth to the east of the current fire perimeter.

For real time and current evacuation information, please contact the sheriffs' offices in Multnomah, Hood River or Skamania County. 

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The purpose of this blog is to provide breaking news about wildfire activity on the forestlands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. We invite you to post questions or comments about current wildfires. Please keep your posts civil and free of profanity.

Current wildfire info

National weather forecasters predictions that Oregon would see above average temperatures and below average rainfall in the summer of 2018 proved true. Almost all of Oregon was abnormally dry this summer, with a majority of the state in moderate to severe drought. Many areas posted record high temperatures or record strings of hot days. These conditions set the stage for potentially large, fast-moving wildfires.


What we do

Protection jurisdiction
The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. In total there are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.

Fire suppression policy
The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.

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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.