Hood River residents asked to get ready to evacuate

The Eagle Creek Fire is 7% contained

Smoke from the Eagle Creek Fire seen near Cascade Locks on September 8, 2017. (KOIN)
Smoke from the Eagle Creek Fire seen near Cascade Locks on September 8, 2017. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — More people are getting ready to evacuate as the Eagle Creek Fire arches toward Hood River. Homeowners and businesses were warned Friday to get ready to leave.

Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters went door-to-door along the western edge of Hood River, warning homeowners of the new Level 1 and 2 evacuation orders.

Some residents are clearing debris from around their houses, eliminating potential fuel and keeping the area watered in hopes of preventing their homes from burning if the fire comes closer.

The Eagle Creek Fire is the number 1 firefighting priority in the nation, officials said on Friday morning.

The blaze is 33,682 acres and 7% contained as of Saturday. During a press conference Saturday afternoon, officials said 4 structures have burned due to the fire, but also said growth was slow overnight and weather conditions have improved.

Smoke had also cleared from much of the Portland metro area.

The Oregon Department of Transportation said they are working on reopening I-84 but were unable to provide an exact timeline. On Friday, they began removing the first of at least 2,000 hazardous trees, which need to be cleared before the highway can safely reopen.

Sen. Ron Wyden spoke at a media briefing on Friday and said that he is working in Washington to increase funding to fight wildfires. “The government short changes the prevention fund,” Wyden said.

“The West is on fire and these are not your grandfather’s fires, these are mega fires,” Wyden said. “They’re bigger, they’re hotter and stronger.”

911 personnel were fighting the fire. The Red Cross said it has helped 200 residents in the area by providing shelter, food and clothing.

Latest evacuation orders from Hood River Sheriff’s Office:

This new Level One area runs from Collins Rd. in Dee at the south end to I-84 on the north end, and includes all areas west of the following lines: Country Club south to Reed Road, running due south to Hwy. 281, continuing along 281 to milepost 12.5, then following the Middle Fork of the Hood River until it comes parallel with the south end of Collins Road. Level One means people should be ready for potential evacuation, and should plan for what they might need to take with them. A map has been created and will be distributed for zones A4, A5, and A6. No structures are under immediate threat from the fire.

The current Level Two evacuation area on the north-east half of Cascade Locks is being extended east to Viento State Park, staying along the I-84 corridor. This includes the In-lieu site and the whole area of Wyeth. Level Two means that people should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

 

KOIN 6 News reporters Lisa Balick and Jennifer Dowling contributed to this report.