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Fire Crews Fight To Preserve Multnomah Falls: 'It's Still Green.'

Wildfire crews fought hard this week to preserve the area surrounding Multnomah Falls as the Eagle Creek Fire raged in the Columbia River Gorge.

Photo: Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

The view of Oregon’s landmark Multnomah Falls was obstructed Wednesday afternoon by a horizontal surge of water. That water, in this case, was coming from Portland and Gresham fire trucks.

There was concern over what the Eagle Creek Fire burning thousands of acres in the Columbia River Gorge could do to one of the state’s iconic tourist destinations.

Fire officials said they knew they had to protect Multnomah Falls.

Fire crews from different parts of the state rest at the bottom of Multnomah Falls where they worked to prevent the Multnomah Falls Lodge from burning on Sept. 6, 2017.

Fire crews from different parts of the state rest at the bottom of Multnomah Falls where they worked to prevent the Multnomah Falls Lodge from burning on Sept. 6, 2017.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

It was a multi-agency effort. Fire trucks and fire equipment from Tualatin Valley and Forest Grove joined Portland’s crews in the parking lot where, at this point in the summer, tourists and visitors would typically pack in to witness the beauty of Oregon’s tallest waterfall.

“[This] is very very near and dear to all of us Oregonians, and we knew we needed to get the right crews in here the right resources in here to protect it,” said Lt. Rich Tyler with the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Multnomah Falls sign on Sept. 6, 2017 as the Eagle Creek Fire looms nearby.

The Multnomah Falls sign on Sept. 6, 2017 as the Eagle Creek Fire looms nearby.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

Fire crews take a break at the foot of Multnomah Falls Sept. 6, 2017. The Eagle Creek fire threatened the Multnomah Falls Lodge, but the power was still working. 

Fire crews take a break at the foot of Multnomah Falls Sept. 6, 2017. The Eagle Creek fire threatened the Multnomah Falls Lodge, but the power was still working. 

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

As crews walked through the falls eerily clear of tourists, fire information officer Damon Simmons said he was hopeful the falls will survive the fire. 

“The biggest takeaway is it’s still Mutnomah Falls — it’s still green,” he said. “It makes me think everything’s going to be OK.”

A press convoy moves along Highway 84 toward Multnomah Falls with fire officials.

A press convoy moves along Highway 84 toward Multnomah Falls with fire officials.

Ericka Cruz Guevarra/OPB

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