Second fire burns above Eagle Creek

In westernmost Hood River County, a seven-acre fire continues to smolder atop a basalt cliff just west of the popular Eagle Creek Trail. The fire, dubbed the Indian Creek Fire (not related to the Hood River pedestrian trail), ignited last Tuesday. Firefighters continue to monitor the fire while a helicopter drops water as needed.

The Forest Service has set up signs marking the following closures:

Eagle Creek Trail No. 440, starting at the boundary with Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (to the north) and extending south to its terminus at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. The closure will include adjacent trails Eagle Benson No. 434, Indian Springs Trail No. 435, Eagle Tanner Trail No. 433, and Tanner Butte Trail No. 401 south of Tanner Butte.

“It is a difficult balancing act,” said Janeen Tervo, Hood River District Ranger, regarding the competing challenges of allowing visitors to access the trail while also providing for public and firefighter safety.

The Mt. Hood National Forest will continue to reevaluate the closure to determine when it is safe to open the area again.

The fire is expected to continue burning for the foreseeable future, the Forest Service said, and no cause has been determined.

On Monday afternoon, another wildfire — Hartland Fire — broke out in Klickitat County about seven miles north of Dallesport. Officials with Washington Department of Natural Resources said on Twitter that evening, “14-15 acres but making good progress.” Three engines and a helicopter responded. By early this morning, the fire was out.

Jim Trammell, West Side Fire Marshal, said conditions in the Mid-Columbia have ranged around “Moderate” in severity. He advises homeowners to keep down grass and brush in the perimeter of their homes — especially around electric fences, which can “short out” and cause unexpected fires.

“It’s a good learning experience,” Trammell said at a pasture fire in south Hood River Monday evening as crews sprayed water on patches of grass.

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