Eagle Creek Fire suspect identified, fire likely started from misuse of fireworks


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.

Evacuation Levels: For more information on evacuation levels, please contact the Deschutes County Sheriff's office at 541-693-6911. Level 1 evacuations means people should be aware of fire danger and ready for potential evacuations.

The fire, which was, first reported Saturday afternoon in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, rapidly spread to 3,000 acres over night and prompted evacuations. Businesses along the main drag were either closed or forced to evacuate.

The Eagle Creek Fire is roughly 3,200 acres and has crept further west over Buck Point and toward the Eagle Creek campground, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Rachel Pawlitz said.

The Hood River Sheriff's Office made a decision to close all of the Hood River Forestland, roads and trails to recreation due to the extreme fire danger.

Evacuation orders remained for parts of OR on September 5 as the Eagle Creek Fire spread to 4,800 acres, official reports said.

The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center lists 30 large fires now burning in OR and Washington state, nearly all of them concentrated in the Cascades.

"Fire burning right along a major interstate, closing 40 miles of road, threatening homes - this is a big deal", Dave Thompson, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, told Oregon Live.

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Numerous hikers had gone up the Eagle Creek Trail on Saturday but a fire broke out near the Columbia River Gorge trail about 90 miles east of Portland.

Still, many residents in areas threatened by the flames are staying to support the firefighters.

Deputy Joel Ives said all the hikers were accounted for, although one was taken to hospital for exhaustion and dehydration.

The only way to get the hikers out was through a longer, more hard 14-mile route.

"Some of these people will be getting out soon, but others may have a very long night ahead of them", Pawlitz said.

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.

Mountain Wave president Russ Gubele says search and rescue teams headed up the second trail on Sunday morning and led the hikers out the 14 miles toward Wahtum Lake.

By Sunday, the Oregon National Guard had rescued all 153 hikers.