Photo by Gabor Gardonyi
Lightning to the east of Hood River.
As of Friday, June 22, 2018
Thunderstorms rolled through much of Oregon on Wednesday, igniting several fires in Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Central Oregon District.
Lighting is believed to be the cause of Wednesday morning’s half-acre fire on Oregon State Parks land on Mitchell Point, west of Hood River.
Wednesday night’s storm also pelted localized mid-valley areas with half-inch hail, with some Odell-area orchardists reporting damage to cherries, pears and apples.
Along with the abundant lightning these storms brought significant rain to many locations, according to Christie Shaw, ODFW spokeswoman.
Sleeper or holdover fires are a concern for fire managers as the weather warms over the next few days and winds increase. ODF will be out patrolling and looking for new starts from Wednesday’s storms.
The most challenging fire from these storms is the Mitchell Point fire, adjacent to Interstate 84 in Hood River County. Firefighters were dispatched early this morning and were able to quickly stop spread of the fire, estimated to be approximately a half acre in size, and an estimated 200 feet up the cliff, which is at milepost 59.
Firefighters have continued mop up activities Friday on the fire, with anticipated full control later Friday.
The steep, rocky terrain and cliffs has made firefighting activities difficult. In addition to two ODF fire engines, two engines from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, an engine from the Hood River Fire Department, an engine from West Side Fire Department, and a tender from Wy’East Fire Department responded to the fire.
One lane of travel on the interstate was impacted by firefighting activities, but all lanes are currently open.
Three miles south of Maupin, ODFW and other agencies are fighting the 2,000-acre Boxcar fire, on Bureau of Land Management lands; fire officials said the blaze could threaten the city of Maupin.
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Firefighters have also responded to several human- caused fires in the last few days, including an escaped debris burn on Friday, June 22. Fire Season is in effect within the Central Oregon District. No open debris burning is allowed.
Burn barrels are allowed within The Dalles Unit with an approved burn permit. Beginning July 1 all burning within Hood River and Wasco counties will be prohibited, including burn barrels. The rain received from these storms is not enough to reduce the fire danger.