Clouds and high humidity affect Eagle Creek fire in Columbia River Gorge

Mapping flights the last two days were cancelled due to low clouds.

helicopter eagle creek fire columbia river
A helicopter carries water from the Columbia River to the Eagle Creek Fire September 8, 2017. Inciweb photo.

The growth of the Eagle Creek wildfire burning along the Columbia River in northern Oregon 11 miles northeast of Gresham has slowed during the last two days due to cooler and more humid weather. On Friday the relative humidity at Cascade Locks never got below 64 percent. A couple of weather stations just south of the fire recorded small amounts of rain early Saturday morning.

The forecast for calls for a 17 to 30 percent chance of showers through Saturday night, but warmer and drier conditions will prevail Sunday through Tuesday.

Strong winds out of the west at 15 gusting to 25 mph are expected Saturday, but the humidity will remain above 90 percent.

The information below is from the Incident Management Team at about 11 a.m. PDT September 9:

Winds shifted Friday, blowing predominantly upriver out of the west and increasing fire activity to the east. Two new Level 1 (Ready) Evacuation Notices were issued by the Hood River Sheriff’s Department for portions of Hood River County on Friday afternoon.

Firefighters performed a strategic burnout near Cascade Locks to protected endangered residential and commercial structures. They continued to work along Interstate 84 and Hwy 30 using heavy equipment to strengthen firelines and protect structures, avoiding sensitive areas like fish hatcheries. Helicopters were dipping water out of the Columbia River to assist firefighters working south of the Interstate. Helicopters also provided assistance to crews working to contain the Archer Fire in Washington. Overnight, Oregon State Fire Marshall (OSFM) structure protection crews continued to mop up along I-84 and in Corbett while burnout operations were held on the east end. Due to increased moisture in the air and no substantial wind, the fire perimeter remained mostly unchanged overnight.

Weather conditions are expected to be favorable for firefighting activities today with lower temperatures, higher humidity and lighter winds. Activities today will emphasize protecting structures along Interstate 84 and Hwy 30.

OSFM crews will continue to support burnout operations. They will be completing patrols to extinguish hot spots to the east and maintain containment lines in Cascade Locks. All aircraft are available for use today. Firefighters will be scouting on the eastern side of the fire in Hood River County for natural barriers like roads and trails to create a line of defense for homes the in that area. Preparations are underway for a strategic burnout to protect the community of Corbett on the fire’s western edge, however that burnout may be delayed due to the moist conditions expected today. All firefighting efforts are aimed at restoring normal activities along the Columbia River and the Interstate 84/Hwy 30 corridor.

While today’s weather is giving firefighters a bit of breathing room, conditions in upcoming days will revert to drier, windier conditions. As always firefighter and public safety are the primary objective while fighting the Eagle Creek Fire.

Resources Assigned: 4 Type 1 (Hotshot) crews, 11 Type 2 crews and 5 Type 2 Initial Attack Crews; 104 Engines; 12 helicopters; 987 Personnel

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

2 thoughts on “Clouds and high humidity affect Eagle Creek fire in Columbia River Gorge”

  1. Beautiful piece of the country, but very rough and steep, the winds make it very interesting when the fires burn. Be careful, folks.

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