Firefighters save historic Multnomah Falls Lodge from Eagle Creek Wildfire

Posted September 10, 2017

People in OR covered their faces with scarves to keep choking ash from wildfires from filling their lungs and wiped the soot from windshields, similar to what long-time residents said they had to do in 1980 during the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens.

A wildfire burning outside the east boundary of the park has scorched more than 29 square miles (75 square kilometers).

As of this morning, the active fire had destroyed 33,382 acres, officials said. People shielded their faces and authorities in the Northwest urged drivers to use headlights during the day to increase visibility.

That fire was allegedly caused by a 15-year-old Vancouver boy on September 2.

WILSON: You know, it's been a real struggle.

The only comparison people could come up with was the eruption of Mount St. Helens in nearby southwest Washington more than 35 years ago. "The Gorge is Oregon's crown jewel". "The particulate matter that shows up on the cars, it gets in your hair, it gets in your eyes, its all over the place like it was in those days".

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Interstate 84 between Troutdale and Hood River remains closed.

Inslee said firefighting resources are already stretched thin across the western U.S. His proclamation allows the Washington National Guard to help fight fires, and directs state agencies to assist affected communities. Five homes burnt and more than 1000 people were evacuated as excessive winds fueled the flames in the canyon north of Salt Lake City. A portion of the park was closed.

The Eagle Creek Fire lit up the Gorge like a vision from hell.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality continues to keep southern Idaho from Ketchum to Twin Falls and Burley in an Air Quality Alert. Firefighters will also be looking on the eastern side of the fire in Hood River County for natural barriers like roads and trails to create a line of defense for homes the in that area.

Hundreds of residents have had to evacuate because of the fires, which have burned 20,000 acres.

Police say the fire began when the teenager set off fireworks on a forest trail on Saturday.

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No charges have been filed against the teen as of midday Wednesday, and Fugate said officers are making sure they have a "very thorough investigation" on this case due to the severity of the damage.

Gov. Kate Brown visited the fire scene Tuesday as ash fell around her.

Pushed by hot, boisterous east winds, the Eagle Creek Fire hurled flaming debris up to three-quarters of a mile and even jumped the Columbia to start a fire on the Washington side.

"We've gotta get ahead of this problem", said Rep. Peter DeFazio.

"Fire burning right along a major interstate, closing 40 miles of road, threatening homes - this is a big deal", Dave Thompson, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation told The Oregonian.

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