• Wildfire Forces Evacuations In Cascade Locks

    PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A fire near the Eagle Creek Trail at Cascade Locks erupted near the already-burning Indian Creek Trail, sending a massive plume of smoke and visible bright flames over the Columbia River Gorge, forcing the evacuation of about 140 hikers and campers from the area.

    On Sunday morning, the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office announced the following in terms of evacuation orders for the City of Cascade Locks.
    Due to overnight fire activity, the city of Cascade Locks is under evacuation orders. The south-west portion of the city is under Level Three evacuation, affecting approximately 130 homes. A Level Three evacuation means that residents need to leave immediately. Those residents have been notified either in person by law enforcement or through Everbridge notifications. The rest of the city is under Level Two and Level One evacuation orders.

    A Red Cross Shelter has been set up at the Skamania County Fairgrounds, immediately across the Columbia River in Stevenson, Washington. Specific information can be obtained by calling 541-387-6941, and that information will be updated periodically throughout the day. Those with emergencies should call 911.

    A U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said about 140 hikers are safely away from the fire and will shelter in place at Tunnel Falls overnight Saturday. The National Guard will airdrop supplies to them. The group, which was caught at the falls between two of the fires, is expected to hike out Sunday morning.

    Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue and Mountain Wave SAR also announced they will be assisting with evacuations.
    Joel Ives, a deputy sheriff with the Hood County Sheriff’s office, said three hikers off the trail were rescued by a Blackhawk.


    Eagle Creek campers from Portland stood in awe of the fire blazing closer and closer to the campsite they evacuated about 10 minutes before they spoke with KOIN 6 News.
    “We were hiking Old Highway and an officer came zooming down and told us to evacuate,” Art Kohn said. Another camper, Noah Clark, said, “We just go out and we see all this smoke billowing out and thought, ‘Oh my God, this is really close to our campsite.'”
    Eagle Creek fire: Sept 2, 2017

    The site sits at one fof the jumping off points to the steep Eagle Creek Trail, with the flames on the ridge just a mile from their site. Luckily, they were able to get their belongings out in time, although Jane Clark said it “took us awhile to get packed up.”
    “That is crazy,” camper Aidan Childs said. “Camping trip gone awesome and horribly wrong at the same time.”

    Jane Clark told KOIN 6 News the campground was completely empty when they hurried back to grab their stuff. The trail had already been closed by the time they reached the campground.

    “That’s a little bit scary because you couldn’t see the fire but you could smell the smoke,” she said. “We didn’t know the fire was as close as it is. If we did, we would have moved a lot faster than we did.”

    The Clark family stood and watched the fire torch the ridge from the safety of the parking area near Highway 84 for quite some time. They’re thankful they made it out safely.
    “The police were terrific,” Art Kohn said. “They were organized and got us out quick.”