Photo by Trisha Walker
ODF helicopter circles around a house on Wy’east Road, monitoring the perimeter of the Canyon Road fire Thursday. Fire burned “right up to the backyard” of the home, said Wy’East Fire District Chief Greg Borton.
As of Friday, August 10, 2018
A fire reported in Odell Wednesday afternoon sparked not only five home evacuations, but response from Wy’East Fire Department, the Oregon Department of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service. Logistical support was provided by the Hood River Fire Department.
According to a press release from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office, five homes were evacuated in the 3600 block of Wy’east Road; the road itself was closed between Davis and Central Vale. The fire burned approximately two acres.
The area is grass, brush and timber terrain, said the press release. A wet line was placed around the fire perimeter. The fire was reported at approximately 2:51 p.m. and mop up was in effect by a 4:18 p.m. press release update.
The State of Oregon Arson Unit and the Oregon Department of Forestry Burn Investigation Unit were called in to investigate the fire, which has been ruled as “definitely human caused,” said Wy’East Fire District Chief Greg Borton Thursday morning. No other information on the cause of the fire was available.
A helicopter was called in by the Oregon Department of Forestry to track of the fire’s perimeter and give aid should the fire grown in size. Borton said that, had the fire grown, the helicopter would have connected to a bucket and started dropping water.
“Any fire is getting everything possible thrown at it to slow it down,” he said.
The fire burned “right up to the back yard” of one of the homes located on Wy’east Road, he said.
“We were very fortunate in this fire and the fact we didn’t have any winds yesterday,” Borton said. “Any kind of wind — east wind or west wind — we may have had a different and bigger fire.”
There is a total burn ban in effect for Hood River County, typical for this time of year, Borton said. “The only thing extra is the USFS has put restrictions on all forest lands,” he said.
The county was in a “red flag warning” for excessive heat Thursday until 11 p.m.
“A red flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly,” said a notice from Weather Underground (weatherunderground.com) regarding Hood River County fire conditions. “A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures can contribute to extreme fire behavior.”
“Humidity is so low right now that everything is primed to burn,” Borton said. “It would only take a little spark to get a fire started.”
He cautioned everyone to be careful with outdoor activities, and especially when using any equipment.