Cascade Creek Wildfire faces potential wind boost

TROUT LAKE, Wash. — Firefighters working on the 17,000-acre Cascade Creek Wildfire, burning on the south and west flanks of Mount Adams, were watching the weather closely in anticipation of a dry cold front slated to bring strong, gusty winds Monday night and Tuesday.

On the fire’s eastern perimeter, crews continue to work on hot spots near the Aiken Lava Bed. Buried wood and debris smolder deep among the lava cracks and tunnels, resisting efforts to be cooled and extinguished.

Helicopters have been dropping buckets of water and retardant to assist the firefighters on the ground.

On the southern perimeter, mop-up is proceeding and crews are close to completing their assignment to extinguish all heat sources within 75-100 feet of the containment line and retrieve firefighting equipment to fire camp.

The most diverse firefighting actions continue to take place on the western flank.

Early the morning of Sept. 30, a dry thermal belt moved down the mountain, feeding active fire behavior and a rapid downhill run that added about 1,200 acres to the fire’s size.

Monday, with humidity drops and winds shifting to come from the southwest, the crews planned to burn an additional swath of about 1,000 acres to connect existing burned areas to forest types that have defendable topography and relatively low flammability. This action may help in anticipation of strong winds from the north, expected to arrive on Tuesday.

The early week weather conditions, with winds forecast to reach 10-20 mph with gusts to 35, will be of concern for firefighters.

In addition to moving the fire, wind increases the risk of falling trees and snags, potentially further endangering firefighters on the lines.

The fire is currently listed as 63 percent contained. Twelve crews are still assigned with 456 personnel still at work.

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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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