New wildfire burns home near Lyle

A home just north of the town of Lyle on the Washington side of the Gorge has been lost in the 100-acre Centerville wildfire that started burning around 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

Stan Hinatsu, recreation program manager for the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, said the home was off the Centerville Highway, but did not have more information as of press time.

The Centerville fire comes just a week after DNR crews finished extinguishing a 150-acre wildfire near Major Creek, which lies just west of Lyle.

About 90 personnel, most of whom are from the Washington Department of Natural Resources, were still working on getting the Centerville fire under control, which was estimated to be 60-percent contained as of late Tuesday morning. A Type 3 management team consisting of four 10-person prison inmate crews, one 20-person DNR crew, and one strike team consisting of five engines were on scene, busily reinforcing fire lines. Hinatsu said a helicopter is also available. The DNR team took over for the local fire crews who initially responded to the blaze Monday afternoon.

Hinatsu reported that firefighters were working in steep, difficult terrain consisting of Douglas fir, pine, scrub oak, and poison oak. Fire progression slowed overnight and Hinatsu said things remained “fairly quiet” Tuesday morning with the exception of a one-acre spot fire that ignited on the side of Centerville Highway opposite from the main fire.

Of prime importance is slowing the eastern flank of the creeping fire, which is currently within 100 yards of two or three homes off the Centerville Highway, according to Hinatsu.

For safety reason, a portion of the Centerville Highway that lies within the fire area has been closed until further notice.

No official cause of the fire has been listed, but Hinatsu noted that authorities have “ruled out natural causes,” meaning the fire was likely started by humans.

Hinatsu hoped firefighters would be able to have the fire fully contained by the end of the day on Tuesday, as the forecast called for “abundant lightning strikes” Tuesday afternoon.

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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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