Salem, OR—Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act in response to the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area at 2:44 p.m. today. At the time of the declaration, the entire town of Cascade Locks was under a Level 2 evacuation, with other homes in the community and the Oxbow Hatchery at Level 3. In addition, the fire threatens Bonneville Power lines in the area.
"Crews are deployed throughout Oregon fighting some of the most intense wildfires in the nation," Governor Brown said. "The swift action of fire crews responding to the Eagle Creek Fire and heroic efforts of our Oregon National Guard saved lives, and I thank the crews still on the front lines who are working actively to contain the fire."
The Eagle Creek Fire was reported Saturday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m., grew to 3,000 acres overnight, and is now approximately a half a mile from Cascade Locks. For their safety, 153 hikers had to shelter in place near Tunnel Falls last night, but the Oregon National Guard was able to successfully rescue the hikers. Currently, all hikers are accounted for and are reported as safe.
The Hood River County Sheriff initiated additional evacuation notices to the immediately impacted community of Cascade Locks. A Level 3 (Go) evacuation notice was given to residences south of Interstate 84, and all residences north of Interstate 84 are under Level 2 (Be Set) evacuation notice. A Red Cross Shelter has been set up at the Skamania County Fairgrounds, immediately across the Columbia River in Stevenson, WA.
The cause of the Eagle Creek fire has been determined to have been man-made, potentially from the misuse of fireworks. A suspect has been identified and additional information will be released as the investigation develops. This investigation is being jointly conducted by the Oregon State Police, U.S. Forest Service, Hood River Sheriff's Office, Hood River District Attorney's Office, and fire personnel.
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