As winds shifted westerly today, areas east of the Eagle Crest Fire experienced increased smoke. Fire officials reported this evening that some of the smoke was generated by fire backing slowly southward into the Herman Creek drainage, though the fire has not crossed Herman Creek or created any new threats.
Further east, firefighters continued to construct line along I-84 from Cascade Locks to Shell Mountain and from Wahtum Lake to Mitchell Point. For the most part, these contingency lines follow existing powerline corridors and roads.
A fixed wing aircraft was used to conduct reconnaissance over some parts of the fire, but heavy smoke prevented the use of other aerial resources for water drops.
Work continued along the I-84 corridor, as firefighters strengthened lines between Bridal Veil and the Bonneville Dam. Crews from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Bonneville Power Administration also made progress falling hazard trees along transportation and power transmission corridors.
On the far west end of the fire, crews continued securing and mopping up around structures and other infrastructure. The night shift will remain active along the I-84 corridor strengthening containment line and patrolling around structures.
Currently, there are two Oregon State Fire Marshal task forces on both the day and night shifts. Crews supported burnout efforts in Bridal Veil, while continuing to monitor threats to structures. Toward the east in Warrendale, Dodson, Cascade Locks and the Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery, firefighters protected structures while assisting with burnout efforts.
Weather today has remained warmer and dry, with winds shifting to a westerly flow. Tomorrow, as a weak cold front passes, cooler temperatures and higher humidity is expected, though no appreciable precipitation is forecast for the fire area.
There have been no changes to Hood River County evacuation advisories since Friday.
There are 25 crews, 56 engines, 11 helicopters, 15 water tenders, and 905 personnel assigned to the fire.
Hood River County Emergency Management has set up an information hotline for the Eagle Creek Fire, that number is 541-387-6941.
The Hood River County Sheriff’s Department encourages County residents to sign up for the Citizen Alert automatic notification system that sends emergency alerts through home, mobile or business phones, email addresses, and text messages. To sign up, go to the Hood River County website.
Interstate 84 between Hood River and Troutdale remains closed. The Oregon Department of Transportation affirmed that the westbound lanes will open first. But the area of I-84 around Cascade Locks is still an active evacuation zone and the Eagle Creek Fire is still burning, so when it will open is still undetermined. ODOT needs another week to complete rock scaling and removal operations along eastbound I-84. But the lanes won’t reopen until fire no longer threatens the road. The biggest impediment to re-opening the I-84 eastbound lanes is the threat of falling rocks, mostly around the Toothrock Tunnel. The work is slow in steep, difficult terrain and reaches high up the hillside. ODOT has removed about 2,500 trees that were in danger of falling onto I-84; about 1,000 remain to be removed. Tree removal should be finished in the next few days. The Historic Columbia River Highway remains closed with no schedule to reopen.
The East Crater Fire has been burning in the wilderness since September 3 and fire size remains at 467-acres. With Monday’s higher temperatures and light east winds some single tree torching was observed, while fire growth remained minimal. Fire crews and heavy equipment are continuing to prep roads along the east side of the Indian Heaven Wilderness for use as the fire line to minimize fire spread outside the wilderness. Wednesday’s weather forecast is for much cooler temperatures and variable winds out of the west for the week, with potential rain over the weekend.
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center says the Archer Mountain Fire above Skamania now has a 70 percent containment level. It has burned 260 acres.
The Rim Fire now has a 40 percent containment level, and its size has been reduced to 237 acres. That fire is six miles east of Clear Lake in the Barlow Ranger District. The fire is expected to continue to creep, and the potential for grown is expected to be minimal. Crews will continue mop up along containment lines and mitigate snag hazards. A cooling trend with possible rain showers is predicted towards the end of the week. Trails, campgrounds, active timber sales, and the White River Watershed are in the area of the Rim Fire.
The U.S. Postal Service is advising that any residents of the Cascade Locks area who have been forced to evacuate their homes because of the Eagle Creek Fire may pick up their mail at the Stevenson Post Office on 90 SW Russell Avenue, which is open from 8:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Customers are asked to present photo identification to obtain their mail.
A full area closure is in effect for the Hood River Ranger District West of Highway 35 and North of the Mt. Hood Wilderness. The expanded closure is a result of extreme fire danger and to provide for firefighter safety during fire operations for the Eagle Creek Fire. All roads, trails and National Forest System lands within this area are closed.
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest is prohibiting fire use and smoking throughout the forest. Restrictions will remain in effect until there is significant moisture to lower the fire danger.
All campfires and target shooting are now prohibited across the Mount Hood National Forest. The forest also issued a more stringent Industrial Fire Precaution Level that governs industrial uses on the forest. All spark emitting machinery use such as chainsaws, tractors, skidders, or mechanized loaders are now prohibited.