Monday Eagle Creek fire update

Twisted bridge across Eagle Creek just a few feet upstream from the parking lot.
Liz Schnackenberg of the US Forest Service briefs reporters at the Eagle Creek trailhead Friday

Rain over the weekend in the western gorge helped fire suppression efforts on the Eagle Creek fire, which hasn’t expanded its boundaries for several days but continues to burn in interior pockets and smolder in others. Friday the Forest Service held a press day at the Eagle Creek Trailhead. Portland press was there in abundance.  Liz Schneckenberg with the Forest Service’s assessment team said much of their job was mapping danger zones and warning the public but in some specific areas there are things they can do.

To hear a portion of her conversation with reporters, click on the podcast button below:


Allen Lebowitz of the Washington State Dept of Natural Resources also was interviewed by reporters, and he told them that there was a silver lining in that debris loosened by the fire and rain falling into creekbeds such as Eagle Creek actually create better habitat for the fish, forming pools that provide protection and cooler water.

To hear his remarks to reporters, click on the podcast bar below:


Monday’s report on the Eagle Creek fire:

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team assigned to the Eagle Creek Fire finalized the Soil Burn Severity (SBS) map yesterday. They identified 15% of the fire area as having high burn severity and 30% with moderate burn severity. The remaining 55% has low or very low burn severity. High burn severity is characterized by the burning of all or nearly all of the ground cover and surface organic matter (leaves, needles, and decaying plant matter), including fine roots. Moderate burn severity has consumption of up to 80% of the ground cover. In areas with low burn severity, much of the organic matter on the surface is not fully burned and roots are generally intact. The BAER team will host a community meeting to explain their findings more in detail, date and time TBA.

BAER Team members and other fire personnel have reported falling rocks and debris dislodging within the fire closure area. The area closure is in place in order to protect the public and emergency responders from unnecessary exposure to known hazards. Should there be an injury within the closure area, emergency responders would be exposed to hazard trees, rolling rocks, and unstable terrain in order to perform search, rescue and extraction. The public is asked to continue to respect the area closures and to call local forest offices for hiking and recreation alternatives.

A high-pressure system is expected to bring clear sunny skies this week. Temperatures today will be in the mid- 60s with moderate relative humidity and light winds turning easterly this evening.

Resources Assigned: 3 Hand Crews; 4 Engines; 1 Helicopter, 14 misc. heavy equipment; 208 total Personnel