Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge