Residents, crews optimistic after 36 Pit Fire meeting

36 Pit Fire 7% contained as of Tuesday evening

Neighbors crowd together for a public meeting about the progress in fighting the 36 Pit Fire, Sept. 16, 2014. (KOIN 6)
Neighbors crowd together for a public meeting about the progress in fighting the 36 Pit Fire, Sept. 16, 2014. (KOIN 6)

ESTACADA, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Neighbors crowded together at the First Baptist Church of Estacada erupted in cheers Tuesday evening, as fire crews announced that the 36 Pit Fire was 7% contained.

From the beginning, the now 3,588-acre wildfire has been stubborn and has had residents ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

“I don’t want to leave my home, but I will grab my valuables and leave,” said Katrina Nearing.

Even before the meeting, concerned neighbors, including Nearing, met with fire bosses who were doing their best to reassure people whose homes are close to the fire.

PHOTOS: 36 Pit Fire burns in Mount Hood National Forest

Nearing evacuated once, but now she is back in her RV and has relocated to the Red Cross Evacuation Shelter at the church.

Reinforcements are being sent to the fire lines starting Wednesday with the arrival of 300 more firefighters. They will join the 500 firefighters already battling the blaze that has burned thousands of acres.

Fire investigator at the scene where it is believed   the 36 Pit Fire started, Sept. 16, 2014. (Clackamas County Sheriff's Office)
Fire investigator at the scene where it is believed the 36 Pit Fire started, Sept. 16, 2014. (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

Neighbors also learned at the meeting that the weather will cool down with a chance of rain in the forecast.

“The dampness in the air will help, but this has caused a lot of panic,” said resident Erika Clover.

Crews said they continue to fight the flames on the ground, successfully having built fire lines next to the flames on Tuesday. However, their main attack has been from the air.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is already underway. According to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, fire investigators were already on the scene where they believe the fire began.

Investigators said they believe the fire was human caused and initially said they believe target shooters may have sparked the blaze Saturday night.

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