On the afternoon of Sept. 2, a wildfire erupted in the Eagle Creek area. The wildfire has now grown to over 30,000 acres — including new fires that have started on the Washington side of the Gorge.
“The wildfire photos and evacuation stories coming out of the Gorge are heartbreaking,” said Kevin Gorman, executive director for Friends of the Columbia Gorge, in a media release dated Sept. 5. “But the bravery of first responders who have rallied to help, the expressions of support offered from Friends members and business partners, and the perseverance and grit shown by Gorge residents affected by the Eagle Creek fire has been remarkable.
“The situation is continuing to rapidly evolve and it’s crucial that members of the public stay out of the Gorge at this point. Keeping the roads clear for firefighters, first responders and evacuating Gorge residents is critical.
“We thank Gov. Kate Brown for taking steps to speed in making state resources available to help agencies fight this devastating fire and aid displaced Gorge residents in need. We also urge the federal government to make any and all resources available to state and local first responders on the front lines of this effort.”
On Sept. 3, Friends launched a targeted fundraising drive to help support the ongoing efforts of the Hood River County Search & Rescue, a local first responder and partner that Friends has worked with over the years.
“We encourage members of the public to also help support the ongoing efforts of the Cascade Red Cross as well as the Multnomah and Skamania County search and rescue teams,” stated a press release.
Hood River County Search & Rescue, along with the Oregon National Guard, Air National Guard, U.S. Forest Service and other responding organizations, is currently engaged in ongoing efforts to aid and assist Gorge residents threatened by the Eagle Creek fire. Red Cross shelters have been set up for evacuees in Gresham and Stevenson.
Friends is using its in-house web donation system to process gifts and donations made on behalf of the Hood River County Search & Rescue team. To donate visit gorgefriends.org/ways-to-give/donate-to-hood-river-search-rescue.html.
Friends has placed an FAQ with more information on its effort at gorgefriends.org/news-events/news/2017-09-05/eagle-creek-fire—frequently-asked-questions.html.