Published: Wed, September 06, 2017
World Media | By June Phelps

Ash covers OR cities, wildfire smoke chokes US West

Ash covers OR cities, wildfire smoke chokes US West

The Eagle Creek Fire is going to continue burning through the night and it has caused many people to post about their inability to sleep as they worry about what might take place at Multnomah Falls.

The fire threatened to reach the more populated Portland suburbs as it moves westward. A fire started by kids playing with fireworks is destroying forests and famous OR locations along the Columbia River. The ski resort Tuesday morning reported that none of its structures were damaged overnight.

Fire burns in the Eagle Creek area of Columbia River Gorge, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton said the freeway is closed due to poor visibility from smoke and the fire getting closer to the road. Residents as far west as Portland and Vancouver reported ash falling.

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Investigators said the boy and others may have been using fireworks along the Eagle Creek Trail, which sparked the fire that has burned more than 10,000 acres and forced residents to leave their homes. The Level 1 warning calls for people to gather up valuables in anticipation of an evacuation. Officials also upgraded all Level 1 (GET READY) notices to Level 2 (GET SET.) Level 2 notices now cover all areas north of Wa Na Pa to the Columbia River. Officials said the fire had gone through about half the grove but had not killed any trees.

Fire officials say an OR wildfire in the scenic Columbia River Gorge has grown to almost 16 square miles and is threatening homes.

But those in the Seattle area are actually lucky, he said, compared with those living closer to the fires. Fire crews had wrapped the two 19th-century cabins and an outhouse in shiny, fire-resistant material to protect them from the flames that had entered the Nelder Grove, Grandy said.

Evacuees started coming on Sunday, but last night there was a huge influx of evacuees because that's when winds blew embers from the fire to the Washington side of the Columbia River.

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"It was just too smoky over there", Gunn said.

Mountain Wave Search and Rescue president Russ Gubele says search-and rescue-teams will walk the hikers out toward Wahtum Lake once it gets light.

Around 8:30 p.m. came word from ODOT the I-84 closure had expanded, with all eastbound traffic required to exit at Exit 17 in Troutdale and westbound traffic at Exit 62 in Hood River.

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