As Hurricane Irma Churns, Oregon’s Eagle Creek Fire Continues to Burn: Photos
As Hurricane Irma tracks toward Florida, a nearly week-long fire in Eagle Creek, Oregon has quietly destroyed thousands of acres of forest in its path. The Oregon fire was allegedly started on Sept. 2 by a 15-year-old boy in Vancouver, Wash. who was using fireworks in the heavily wooded Columbia River Gorge, according to Oregon State Police.
As of this writing, the Eagle Creek fire is just 5% contained after six days, says the Oregonian, having burned approximately 31,000 acres. That’s about one-third the size of nearby Portland, Ore.
The fire was first reported at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2, and quickly grew to 3,000 acres overnight as winds ripped through the Gorge, which is where Eagle Creek is located. Hikers were stranded and rescued, and evacuations were ordered for nearby communities over the weekend. Downed trees have closed nearby interstate I-84, which extends 55 miles west to Portland, crippling the area.
Volunteer firefighters have been working around the clock to save the various local landmarks, waterfalls, and hiking trails that the Oregon fire is menacing. Punch Bowl Falls, a popular hiking spot, sits in the middle of the inferno, and the recently restored Oneonta Tunnel has also been engulfed by the flames.
It’s not all bad news, however. Local favorite Multnomah Falls has been saved by firefighters—for now, at least.
The entire Portland metropolitan area has been under a Red Flag Warning and Air Quality Alert since the weekend, and the National Wildfire Coordinating Group estimates the Oregon fire will not be fully contained until Saturday, Sept. 9.
Meanwhile, stealing all the attention, Hurricane Irma is on a path to collide with Florida’s coast Thursday morning, after tracking as much as $250 billion in damage across the Caribbean and killing at least 13 people. There’s hope that Irma won’t leave scenes of devastation in its wake like Harvey did in Houston or like the Eagle Creek fire has in Oregon.
For more images of the Pacific Northwest is fighting the fire, look at the photo gallery above.