Saturday, July 20, 2013
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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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