Minnesota firefighters help fight western wildfires

KOIN 6 NEWS- People from Cascade Locks evacuated to the Skamania County Fairgrounds because of the Eagle Creek fire

They would also end "fire borrowing" by funding the largest wildfires from a similar disaster account used to fund other natural disasters.

The fire continues to burn and authorities have chose to close a highway in the area.

Some evacuation orders have been lifted in populated areas near Montana wildfires but many are still burning and officials said residents should be prepared for some of to last for at least another month. "It's steep - but I knew the forest was on fire".

Besides working for the U.S. Forest Service, Pawlitz lives in Hood River. So far, no homes have burned and authorities credited the tireless work of fire crews through the night with that success.

SHAPIRO: How are firefighters doing in trying to contain this blaze? About 340 personnel are assigned to the fire. Interstate 84 remains partly closed.

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate their homes after the Eagle Creek Fire started Saturday.

The growing blaze east of Portland, Oregon, in the scenic Columbia River Gorge, was one of dozens of wildfires in western USA states that sent smoke into cities from Seattle to Denver - prompting health warnings and cancellations of outdoor activities for children by many school districts. Two new Level 1 (Ready) Evacuation Notices were issued by the Hood River Sheriff's Department for portions of Hood River County on Friday afternoon.

The information released by police matches descriptions from multiple witnesses who have spoken with the media in the days since the start of the fire.

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The fire has burned between 50 and 100 acres since it broke out at about 1 p.m. on Saturday. 'Ash is coming down. BNSF Railway trains on the Washington side of the Columbia River briefly shut down Tuesday morning.

But just a little over a week after being sworn in to his new post, Tooke chose to be in OR, the site of two fires that have been designated as the nation's top firefighting priorities this summer.

"I have to be frank, growing up on both sides, I found it hard to imagine until it happened a week ago, when the Eagle Creek Fire raced to the west, burning through a forest I grew up in at the doorstep of the Rose City", Franz said.

Firefighters also are attacking the fire by air when smoky conditions allow.

The Office of the Oregon State Fire Marshal has reported the number of structures destroyed by the Eagle Creek Fire has grown to four. "That's what drove the fire so much at the beginning of the week".

Temperatures today are expected to be cooler and less humid, a combination that will hopefully help fire suppression efforts.

"I wanted to come out here as soon as I can and learn and ask questions first hand to get an assessment of the fire situation out here", Tooke said. "The ChetCo Bar fire is estimated at 176,000 acres".

Lightning started the East Crater fire in the Indian Heaven National Wilderness on September 3.

But although nearly 1.5 million acres in the USA are involved directly in the wildfires, the problem doesn't end there: Smoke from the fires has traveled 3,000 miles to reach the East Coast, as well.

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