The Eagle Creek fire burns above Bonneville Dam on Sunday, 4 September 2017. Photo: Arianna Frye

By Alex Dobuzinskis
5 September 2017

(Reuters) – An Oregon wildfire that has damaged landmarks in the scenic Columbia River Gorge slowed its push toward evacuated houses near the city of Portland on Wednesday, officials said.

As dozens of blazes raged across the U.S. West, the so-called Eagle Creek Fire near Portland merged late Tuesday with another blaze, the Indian Creek Fire. The two combined have charred 30,930 acres (12,520 hectares), officials said.

Heavy fire activity was expected to continue through September in much of the West, and through October in parts of the northern Rocky Mountains and California, the National Interagency Fire Center said, citing hot and dry weather conditions as the primary cause.

The Eagle Creek Fire, burning in the Columbia River Gorge, forced hundreds of people to evacuate homes earlier this week in communities east of Portland, including Warrendale, Dodson and Latourell, and sent ash falling on the city itself.

Eighty-one large wildfires covering more than 1.4 million acres (570,000 hectares) were burning in the western part of the United States Wednesday, a day after federal officials said 200 active duty military personnel would help fight the fires.

“It’s very unusual to have this many fires burning this many acres across such a broad area at this time in September,” National Interagency Fire Center spokeswoman Jennifer Jones said. [more]

Wildfires sweep across U.S. West, slow push toward Portland

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