Crews make progress on ECF but scars will remain

Eagle Creek Fire is about 35,636 acres

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)

TROUTDALE, Ore. (KOIN) —  The Eagle Creek Fire is 13% contained as of Wednesday morning, according to officials.

The fire crossed Herman Creek into the Camp Creek drainage about 2-3 miles south of I-84 Tuesday night. The fire ran 3 miles to Nick Eaton Ridge with some spots toward Gordon Creek.

New evacuation levels at the bottom of this article

However, firefighters expected this movement and have been dropping water in the area to slow the fire’s growth and will continue to do so throughout Wednesday.

Officials also said they had plans to establish and strengthen contingency lines along the power line corridor east of Cascade Locks to Shellrock Mountain and from Mitchell Point to Wahtum Lake. These efforts will help protect communities near I-84.

Despite the fire spreading to a new area, crews were able to make progress between Bridal Veil and Warrendale.

On the eastern end, near Herman Creek, the fire is expected to remain active, however, cooler weather later in the week could help slow its advance.

The Eagle Creek Fire is about 35,636 acres.

“Seeing that this whole area that I grew up in, the beauty that it had and that it was all under fire was really upsetting to me,” said Ed Chin, who owns All About Adventure Excursions.

Chin had to move and cancel trips due to the fire and air quality. The fire has threatened homes and business with a lasting impact.

“The scarring will be around here for a long time for us to remember this fire here, but knowing how the land is going to be able to transform itself back and rejuvenate itself and beautify itself again, I look forward to seeing it again,” Chin said.

The U.S.Forest Service said some trails on the Oregon side will not be open to the public until spring 2018. They also warned that entering the Eagle Creek Fire is both illegal and unsafe.

Sheriff Mike Reese said during Wednesday’s press conference that all Level 1 evacuation notices have been lifted from all areas of Troutdale, west of the Sandy River. Between 75 and 100 properties were downgraded from Level 3 to Level 2 evacuation notices in the Corbett area — giving people the chance to go home for the first time since the fire started.

Dennis Wiancko said, “I’m looking forward to it…my wife’s waiting for me to finish, so we can go into town and pack up from our friend’s house.”

Volunteers at the re-entry center are offering information on what to expect when people return home and how to remain mindful for their personal safety. The Portland Police Bureau’s Sunshine Division is also supplying evacuees with food and grocery boxes to take home.

People going back home still remain at Level 2, so officials asked they’re still set to go on a moment’s notice.

Lt. Chad Gaidos said, “We’re asking that only household pets return with their owners and that large livestock and horses remain out of these areas until evacuation orders are lifted.”

Level 3 evacuation orders are in effect in the areas of:
Bridal Veil
East Historic Columbia River Highway: East of Alex Barr Road, addresses in the 43800 block and higher
Larch Mountain Road: East of Brower Road, addresses in the 45800 block and higher
All of Brower Road including Toll Road
E Haines Road, addresses in the 43800 block and higher

Level 2 evacuation orders are in effect in the areas of:
Larch Mountain Road: West of Brower Road, addresses in the 45700 block and lower — including Salzman Road and Alder Meadows
E Haines Road, addresses in the 43700 block and lower (toward Larch Mountain Road)
Troutdale, addresses east of the Sandy River

The Archer Mountain Fire was 100% contained Wednesday morning — prompting the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office to lift all evacuation levels.