Washington County residents flee as wildfires move

Washington County

Level 3 "Go Now" evacuations in place

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — People were forced to flee their homes in droves as Level 3 “GO” evacuations were issued in two separate communities in Washington County.

Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire south of Midway was 50% contained as of Wednesday evening. An aircraft was helping with water drops up until nightfall and no additional evacuation notices have been issued. Firefighters will work through the night to maintain containment lines.

The Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire forced hundreds to evacuate in Washington County. Firefighters told this man they probably would not be able to save his son’s house,, September 9, 2020 (KOIN)

At least 150 people have been evacuated in that area as the fire burns about 2,000 acres of private land, timber, pasture and fields. Other homeowners along Highway 219-Hillsboro Highway were waiting to see what happens with the nearby fire. TVF&R said no homes had burned as of 5:15 p.m.

But Brian Inman, who was checking on his son’s home, said “They told me they won’t be able to save my son’s house. They are out of manpower and water.”

There are no fire hydrants in this area. All the water must be trucked in.

Level 3 evacuations have been issued for the following:

  • SW Weaver Drive
  • SW Wildfire Drive
  • NE Brooks Lane
  • NE Jaquith Lane
  • NE Ellis Lane
  • NE Mountain Top Road
  • NE Bald Peak Road
  • NE McCormick Road
  • NE Bryan Creek
  • NE Quarter Mile Lane
  • NE Chehalem Drive
  • NE Hillside Drive
  • SW Buckhaven Road north to SW McCormick Hill Road up to Vanderschuere Road
  • East of SW Neugebauer Road to Hwy 219 between SW Jaquith Rd to SW Vanderschuere Rd
  • SW Herd Lane
  • SW Hideaway Lane
  • SW Forest Park Road
  • SW Strawberry Hill Drive
  • SW Fernhollow
  • SW Bryanna Court
  • SW Wildhaven Lane
People fled the Chehalem Mountain-Bald Peak Fire in Washington County, September 9, 2020 (KOIN)

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue Chief Cassandra Ulven says although the fire is not under control, crews feel as if they have the upper hand. Three barns have burned.

Chief Ulven also said 911 is getting flooded with calls from people in Washington County reporting smoke and an orange glow. She’s asking people to only call 911 if they see flames — otherwise, it backlogs their emergency system.

Powerline Fire

Level 3 evacuations have also been ordered for the entire community of Cherry Grove near Hagg Lake as the so-called Powerline Fire reached 50 acres. The fire, originally dubbed the Stimson Mainline Fire, began early Tuesday morning in the hills south of the Hagg Lake dam near Gaston. Officials said it sparked from a downed power line.

Cherry Grove residents were under a Level 1 “Get Ready” order Tuesday morning but constant strong winds fanned the fire and residents were suddenly told to leave immediately. But many people in the area have livestock to save, complicating their efforts to evacuate. A KOIN 6 News crew watched trailer after trailer full of animals leaving the area.High winds keep thousands powerless in Oregon, SW Washington 

Hagg Lake has officially been closed, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Boat access and park use have been prohibited.

Crews fighting the fire near Hagg Lake were reinforced with firefighters from Clatsop County: from Nehalem Bay to Astoria to Gearhart.

Around 5:30 p.m., the Washington County Sheriff’s Office tweeted, “Two single-engine seaplane type water bombers are en route to the (Power Line) fire. This will help immensely, as they can drop 600 gallons per trip, and refill directly from the lake.”

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