With cooler temperatures and rain hitting the region this week, some firefighters are headed home Monday. The Chetco Bar Fire in Southwest Oregon is 53 percent contained as of Monday morning, while the Eagle Creek Fire in the Columbia River Gorge is 32 percent contained.
“We still have over 7,500 firefighters and support personnel working in our region,” said Carol Connolly, a public information officer with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland. “But the Eagle Creek and the Chetco Bar numbers are down just slightly.”
Connolly says despite the rainy weather, crews are expected to be working on both fires for weeks. The Northwest remains the nation’s top firefighting priority.
The rain forces firefighters to think about other hazards.
“With the rain coming in it’s going to dislodge boulders, it will make the ground not as stable, we could see some mudslides, trees going, rocks falling,” Connolly said.
Firefighters are working to create drainage and erosion controls in burned areas to reduce the risk of landslides. That’s in addition to continued work to control the fires.
State officials warn travelers to be extra aware when traveling through susceptible landslide areas.
The current area of concern includes Government Camp, Detroit, Santiam Pass, Corbett, Rooster Rock, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, North Bonneville, Stevenson, Carson, and Underwood.