PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Governor Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act Wednesday night in response to the growing Mosier Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge.
The emergency measure authorizes the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to mobilize resources to help local crews battling the fire. The act is invoked when officials decide that a potentially deadly fire is beyond the means of local firefighting capabilities.
Brown said residents of Osburne Cutoff, Vensel, Catron, Dry Creek, Carroll, Morgenson, and from Chenoweth Airport to Vensel/Ketchum road are on Level 3 “GO” evacuations.
The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office said residents at the intersection of Dry Creek across Seven Mile to Foley Lakes intersection, back up to Chenoweth Road West to Chenoweth Airport are in Level 2 “GET READY” and all of Browns Creek Road from Chenoweth to Wells roads are under Level 1 orders. They later added everyone east of State Road from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Road to the Level 2 orders.
Authorities starting issuing evacuation orders earlier in the evening, just an hour or two after the fire was reported to be burning about eight miles southeast of Hood River just southeast of Mosier at 4:30 p.m. Officials estimated that at 7:30 p.m. the fire — named the Mosier Creek Fire — had reached about 200 acres in size. It had grown to an estimated 500 acres by 10 p.m., according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. Brown’s office said the fire was threatening 300 homes at that time.
By 5 a.m. Thursday morning, officials confirmed the blaze had grown to 791 acres.
The Red Cross is providing shelter to evacuees at The Shilo Inn in The Dalles at 3223 Bret Clodfelter Way. Large animal evacuation resources can be accessed through the Alpine Veterinary Hospital at 541.386.6658.
“With high temperatures and weather conditions helping fires grow quickly, I have invoked an emergency declaration to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County and the Columbia River Gorge at the Mosier Creek fire,” Brown said. “I ask Oregonians to remember that preventing wildfires is critical this year, especially as we have fire crews on the frontlines during this pandemic. Be cautious and honor all burn bans, and keep our fire crews in your thoughts as they fight to protect our communities and the landscapes that surround them.”
KOIN 6 News will follow this story and provide updates as they become available.