Fire causes second Highway 35 shutdown


News staff writer

August 23, 2006

The Mount Hood Fire Complex continued to grow during the weekend partly due to a planned burnout of fuel and partly to the burn going past a line cut around the fire.

Because of the need to shift resources and move firefighters into place, the incident command team overseeing the fire decided to close Highway 35 for 24 to 48 hours; the closure began at noon Tuesday. The closure is from Cooper Spur Road at Milepost 74 to White River Sno-Park at Milepost 62.

During times when the highway is open there are restrictions in place that will continue until further notice. Highway 35 will be closed each day from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. pilot cars and follow vehicles will control both directions of traffic. From 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. the highway will be open but no vehicles will be allowed to stop or park at any trailheads between Cooper Spur Road and the junction of Forest Road 48.

The crews were going into place to work on burning-out operations close to the highway. The closure was also being done to help with low-level air support by helicopters flying in loads of retardant and water.

A slopover, the term used for fire that burns past a fire line, occurred on the south end of the Bluegrass Fire Saturday afternoon. The small starts spread quickly in two places over rocky slopes and added 20 to 30 acres to the fire area.

Crews contained it indirectly with bulldozer and hand lines by improving existing roads and trails. They were working in the vicinity of Elk Mountain southeast toward Robinhood Creek. The burnout is expected to help the southern fire line hold.

Fire officials expect the fire to continue to spread south and west on the south perimeter until burnout takes place to the containment line. New fire starts and undetected spots could possibly increase the fire’s size outside containment lines.

For the first time since the lightning-caused blazes began Aug. 7, fire officials have posted a date for containment of Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. As of Tuesday morning, the Bluegrass Fire had grown to 1,480 acres and is currently the only active fire in the Mount Hood Complex.

Crews have contained the Gumjuwac Fire and 12 smaller spot fires in the Badger Creek Wilderness, which totaled 50 acres. Crews are still patrolling the fires but the burns are mopped up.

The number of personnel on the fire has increased from 643 during the weekend to 708 people on Tuesday.

Firefighters have established a separate, smaller “spike camp” away from the Incident Command site at Mt. Hood Meadows. A pack string is being used to haul equipment and supplies into the spike camp.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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