Fire crews reached 100 percent containment on the Eagle Creek Fire that ignited in the Columbia River Gorge Sept. 2.
Containment means firefighters have a barrier around the fire. Officials say they don’t expect the fire to grow.
“We are comfortable at this stage that the fire will not grow outside of its existing perimeter, but there may be fuels smoking in a few places in remote terrain,” said Chris Harper, incident commander for Eagle Creek Fire, in a statement.
Full containment comes a day after the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge reopened for the first time since its closure in September. It comes a day after community members and business owners held a forum to discuss how they’ll bounce back from the fire that has burned more than 48,000 acres in the Gorge.
“A lot of this adverse affect on businesses is going to last well into 2018, because as we know, it’s going to take time before we can open up this area,” said Glenn Mackey, president of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce and a small business owner in Troutdale, at a forum Wednesday.
Business has been slow even at the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest, the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge.
“I think once the word starts getting out especially by this weekend we should be zooming again,” said Rick Buck, president of the company that runs the lodge.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office, meanwhile, says it’s in the beginning stages of drafting legislation with state Rep. David Gomberg, D-Central Coast, that would streamline disaster recovery assistance for Oregon businesses, largely as a response to the historic summer of wildfires that included blazes such as the Chetco Bar Fire near Brookings.
Containment on the fire stagnated at 50 percent containment for weeks.
“We had held the number at 50 percent for some time as a reflection of the percent surrounded by containment lines,” said Rachel Pawlitz, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Forest Service.
“Today, we changed it to 100 percent contained based on our review of conditions and comfort level that it will not grow anywhere in its perimeter.”