Eagle Creek Fire grows to 3,000 acres, forces evacuations

Flames bloom from the Eagle Creek Fire Sunday morning.

Photo courtesy of Inciweb
Flames bloom from the Eagle Creek Fire Sunday morning.

2:30 p.m. Sunday update:

The final group of 153 hikers in the Eagle Creek area has been recovered from the Wahtum Lake area and is on the way to the reunification site via bus, according to the Hood River County Sheriff's Office. There are no hikers who are unaccounted for at this time. One hiker was transported non-critically via ambulance for issues related to exhaustion and dehydration.

The city of Cascade Locks is under evacuation orders due to the growth of the Eagle Creek Fire to about 3,000 acres overnight. This is a new fire, separate from Indian Creek Fire to the south.

The southwest portion of the city is under Level Three evacuation, affecting about 130 homes. A Level Three evacuation means that residents need to leave immediately. Those residents have been notified either in person by law enforcement or through "Everbridge" notifications. The rest of the city is under Level Two and Level One evacuation orders.

A Red Cross Shelter has been set up at the Skamania County Fairgrounds, immediately across the Columbia River in Stevenson.

Specific information is available by calling 541-387-6941, and that information will be updated periodically throughout the day. Those with emergencies should call 9-1-1.

Meanwhile, numerous hikers were trapped by the fire and stranded overnight.

The Hood River County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Forest Service have been in contact with three primary groups of hikers that were in the area of the Eagle Creek Fire.

A group of about 140-150 hikers sheltered in place over night and are expected to hike out this morning.

A group of three which had been in the most difficult location were airlifted by the Oregon National Guard and were safely returned to the trailhead. The second group of approximately fourteen, who were accompanied by Forest Service security personnel, were able to successfully hike out of the area to the south and are expected to be safely off the trail and returned to the Eagle Creek Trailhead within the hour.

No hiker injuries have been reported so far.

The reunification site for family and friends of hikers that sheltered overnight will continue to be the Cascade Salmon Fish Hatchery, located at the head of the Eagle Creek Trail.

1 p.m. Sunday Evacuation Report --

Buses are delivering rescued hikers from the vicinity of the 3,000-acre Eagle Creek Fire to safety.

School buses pulled up late Sunday morning and afternoon at Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery by the trailhead off Interstate 84, evacuating hikers.

The gathering point for the large group of the stranded hikers, estimated at 140-150 in count, was the trail near Tunnel Falls. Those hikers trekked along the trail to Wahtum Lake, away from the smoke. Overnight, the Forest Service delivered supplies to the hikers, such as space blankets.

As of 12:30 p.m. today, most of the people in the trail area have safely hiked to the Wahtum Lake meeting spot, where buses are shuttling them to the main parking area, Inciweb fire information staff reported.

The first bus arrived around noon. A family of Salem parents of teenagers were still anxiously waiting, a Hood River News staffer on site reported.

The Emergency Operations Center has set up an emergency hotline for information on hikers. Center staff will have names of hikers who have reached the search and rescue teams and are in transit to the reunification site. Families of loved ones can call 541-387-6911.

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