Gusts, dry conditions return to the Gorge to test crews fighting Eagle Creek Fire
CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. (KATU) – Fire crews battling the nearly 33,400-acre Eagle Creek Fire are seeing a shift in the weather pattern which is helping to calm the fire’s behavior just over a week after it broke out in the Columbia River Gorge.
Fire officials said the wildfire held roughly the same size since Friday. State troopers said they believe it was started last week by someone throwing fireworks from the Eagle Creek Trail.
Forecasters are predicting dryer weather and an increase in wind through the Gorge through Tuesday afternoon.
The change in weather will put the hard work of the firefighters to the test, Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Jim Whittington said.
“That’s actually a good thing for us in some ways,” said Whittington. “It’s been moist enough for us that it’s prevented some of our burnouts from burning clean and even along the fire line.”
A recent flyover showed little smoke coming from the part of the fire burning near the Bull Run Watershed, which provides most of the drinking water for the Portland area.
The fire has forced hundreds of evacuations and closed Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River. Rich Tyler of the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office drove that stretch of road before a press briefing Sunday morning.
“We’re seeing progress, which to me means we will get back to normal,” said Tyler. “It’s going to take time. A lot of devastation occurred, but we’re heading in the right direction.”
Fire officials are hosting another public meeting Monday at 5 p.m. at the McMenamin’s Edgefield.
“I know all of our crews, whether it’s fire crews or ODOT … our partners are all working to get everyone’s life back to normal as quickly as we can,” said Tyler.