Gorge wildfires brought under control

A 27-acre wildfire burning north of the town of Lyle on the Washington side of the Gorge was declared to be 100-percent contained Thursday morning.

No one was injured in the fire, which started Monday afternoon along the Centerville Highway, but one home was lost in the blaze.

Originally estimated to be 100 acres in size, the fire was downgraded to 27 acres in size after its perimeter was mapped with a GPS. Stan Hinatsu, recreation program manager for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, said the difficult terrain was responsible for producing the large discrepancy in fire size estimates.

“The terrain is very, very steep,” he explained. “When the terrain is steep it’s really hard to get a clear estimate. The fire looked much larger than it actually was.”

Hinatsu added that the initial estimate was made at night, which also contributed to the difficulty.

He said Thursday morning that the Centerville Highway was open again after a portion of the road was closed Monday for safety reasons. Washington Department of Natural Resources continued mop-up work on the fire throughout the day Thursday.

The fire is believed to be human-caused as no natural sources for the fire could be determined.

Firefighters also stopped the forward spread of a 513-acre wildfire burning on Miller Island in Washington Tuesday afternoon. The large island is located in the middle of the Columbia River, directly across from its confluence with the Deschutes River near the eastern terminus of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Oregon State Police helped ferry eight firefighters to the uninhabited island in a police boat that embarked from the Deschutes River Boat Launch. Hinatsu reported firefighters were doing burn-outs to consume fuel ahead of the fire as well as swatting out the fire to minimize ground disturbance and “protect cultural resources” that exist on the island.

Hinatsu said Thursday crews were monitoring the fire, which was determined to be caused by lightning.

In Hood River Wednesday evening, a small brush fire started in an area above the Rotary Skate Park located between Cascade and Wasco.

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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 www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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