A large wildfire in Gilliam County is now listed at 12,500 acres, with a ten percent containment level. An earlier report of 22,000 acres has been revised downward. The fire started yesterday, and is 20 miles east of Wasco. The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center reports there are some ranches scattered through the area, but does not list the fire as threatening any structures. The fire is burning in grass and brush in varied terrain. The Bureau of Land Management is the lead agency for this fire, with 22 people assigned to it. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but there was lightning in the Mid-Columbia region Thursday evening. Crews in the area dealt with a number of smaller fires, particularly in the central portion of Klickitat County.
American Legion AAA Baseball
Columbia Gorge Hustlers 14, Pendleton 8: The Hustlers used a big offensive performance to advance to a regional playoff series in the state tournament. The Hustlers will advance to face Dallas on the road in a best-of-three series beginning on Saturday. The first two games will be Saturday beginning at noon, with a third game to be played if necessary on Sunday. The Hustlers have won four of their last five games.
This would have been the first weekend of the Fort Dalles Rodeo. The rodeo is not being held this year after a 50-year run, but the Fort Dalles Rodeo Association continues to work on finding a new location to resume the event. Association President Damon Hulit says talks continue with Google to see if their offer to provide a temporary home on the Northwest Aluminum property the company recently purchased is feasible. Hulit says those talks are “going slow, but well.” That area is a bit smaller than the former rodeo site, is flatter, and has better road access to it, but there are wetlands issues and plenty of overgrowth that would have to be removed. Hulit can’t put a timetable on a return of the rodeo, but the intention is to return as soon as arrangements can be made. He also said efforts continue to find a suitable permanent home for the rodeo.
The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway’s Antique Car Tour to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the highway will take place on Saturday. The tour will begin in Troutdale and go to Vista House, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and Mosier before finishing at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center in The Dalles. The organization’s Jeanette Kloos says they have a diverse group of vehicles making the trip. The cars will be parked on the Cascade Locks Marine Park lawn during a lunch stop, and Kloos recommended the lawn outside the Hood River Library to view the vehicles on the move. The tour wraps up at the Discovery Center at about 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon with a meet and greet event.
The annual White Salmon Art and Wine Fusion event returns for its twelfth year on Saturday. The street festival on Jewett Boulevard combines artisans, wine, beer, and cider, food, and entertainment. Mt. Adams Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tammara Tippel says this is the biggest event in its history. White Salmon Art and Wine Fusion opens at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for those under 21. Tasting packages are available on-line at artwinefusion.com.
The Hood River County Fair opens on Wednesday in Odell, but there is plenty of activity going on at the fairgrounds right now. Fair Manager Clara Rice says they are getting ready to take entries on Monday and Tuesday. Fair books are available at numerous locations in Hood River County and at the fair office in Odell. This year’s theme is “Carnival Lights and Country Nights.”
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says one of four monitoring wells on the north side of the railroad tracks in Mosier where June’s oil train derailment occurred has shown what is being described as “fairly significant” groundwater contamination. Bob Schwarz of DEQ says Mosier’s drinking water comes from wells above the derailment site, so he’s confident drinking water has not been affected. Schwarz says the biggest concern is for a wetland area between the derailment site and the Columbia River, and a treatment system will be installed at the location. It will involve using pipes in the ground to inject air into the groundwater, and the oxygen in the air will stimulate naturally occurring microbes in the ground that will consume the oil. Schwarz says the other three wells were fairly clean, with the contaminated well about 150 feet away from where the derailment occurred, and Schwarz says it could have been in a pathway where water flowed from firefighting efforts.
The arrival of a new fixed base operator at the Ken Jernstedt Airfield is bringing changes to the Port of Hood River’s airport. The new FBO is TachAero, and Port Executive Director Michael McElwee says the effort is to create an aggregation of activities around the business and flight training, with the firm entering into agreements with various airplane manufactures to make the airport a venue for purchasers to train on their new plane. McElwee says the wind and terrain in the region create a good environment for flight training, giving students experience in a number of situations. He added the new operator has already bought some new planes and installed a flight simulator.
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue will be holding its first Junior Firefighter Summer Camp in early August. It’s for children ages five to ten years old, and MCFR’s Dave Lapof says they are planning a full-range of activities for the youngsters, including learning how to run a fire extinguisher, connect hoses, tie knots, do CPR, and more. The camp will take place from August 8th to the 10th from 9 a.m. to noon each day at MCFR’s station on 1400 West 8th in The Dalles. Cost is $45, and space is limited. For more information call 541-296-9445.
The Four Rivers Early Learning Hub is about to reach its first anniversary of being recognized by the state. The hub is a regional group made up of Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties with a goal of working with parents and caregivers to make sure children arrive in kindergarten ready to learn. Hub coordinator Christa Rude says they have spending the past four to six months putting together the structure to operate in five counties. Rude says a team from Sherman, Gilliam, and Wheeler counties are currently doing “ready for kindergarten” professional training while dealing with the challenge of sparse population over a large area.