PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — All evacuation levels in connection with Wednesday’s wildfire near The Dalles were lifted Thursday morning as residents came back to their homes, and now officials are gearing up for what could be a tough fire season.
Wasco County Sheriff’s Office said the Mile Post 85 Fire had only Level 1 “Get Ready” evacuation notices for the Port of The Dalles, Pinewood Mobile Manor, Discovery Center and Golf Course Apartments before they were dropped at 9:30 a.m.
The fire, which was reported early Wednesday afternoon, has burned at least 170 acres of grass, brush and timber as of Thursday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
As of Wednesday evening, it was at 70% containment, where it remains as of Thursday morning, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release.
U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesperson Stan Hinatsu told KOIN 6 News the fire was quickly contained thanks to “better mapping, better eyes on the perimeter” and helped by having resources nearby.
“The wind didn’t help,” Hinatsu said. “It wasn’t howling, but it was enough to push the fire quickly” over Interstate 84, which was temporarily closed as crews fought the fire.
Wednesday’s weather conditions were also warm and dry.
“We were all commenting, this is early June — to have a fire burn this quickly — it’s just dry, that’s conducive to fire active,” Hinatsu said.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported and no buildings were burned; however, some fences and power poles were damaged in the fire.
Cara Marshall was among those who had to flee the area. She told KOIN 6 News she received her first notice to leave via the phone and had 10 minutes to pack up whatever they could and get away.
“Way too close to home,” she said, adding she only grabbed her grandchildren and dogs. “We don’t have much time, especially when it’s right there.”
Marshall was able to head to a friend’s home for about five to six hours before getting the all clear she could return.
“But during that whole time, we’re wondering if it’s going to be a structure fire, if you’ll come back to rubble,” she said about the ordeal. “It’s not something I’d wish on anyone. It’s terrifying.”
Officials still advise people to avoid the area, including the River Front Trail, until fire crews are finished battling the blaze.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. State officials spoke on Thursday about the state’s preparedness for wildfires this summer.