Blackburn fire close to contained

Nearly three weeks after it began, the Blackburn fire is expected to reach 100-percent containment on Wednesday, according to fire spokesperson David Morman.

He reported crews will continue mopping up the west end of the fire and patrolling other sections to watch for flare-ups. Morman said as of Monday afternoon, 292 personnel were stationed at the fire, but that crews were in an “accelerated state of demobilization.”

The Blackburn fire was part of a complex of three wildfires — the Government Flats complex — that began via lightning strike Aug. 16. Four homes and nine outbuildings were lost in the fire which burned 11,434 acres several miles southwest of The Dalles. The most recent figures available list the total cost of the fire at $13 million, most of which is eligible for reimbursement via the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

On Saturday, Aug. 24, the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Green Team was demobilized from the fire. Their efforts helped support the local Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue in defending homes and property, with 142 personnel from 46 fire districts and departments representing 12 Oregon counties on the Government Flats Complex.

ODF IMT 3 began demobilization of resources on Monday, Aug. 26, and a local fire management team assumed command on Thursday, Aug. 29, at 0700 hours to continue mop-up and patrol of the fires in this complex.

Information regarding recreation on the Mount Hood National Forest and area closures may be obtained by logging onto or by calling either the Barlow Ranger District at 541-467-2291 or the Hood River Ranger District at 541-352-6002.

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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

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