Columbia River Gorge fire grows, threatens hundreds of homes

A wildfire burning in the scenic Columbia River Gorge has grown to more than 970 acres (392 hectares) but crews as of Friday morning had it 10% contained and said they’d established a 75% line of defense.

The blaze was threatening hundreds of homes.

The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in the community of Mosier, Oregon, which is between Hood River and The Dalles along Interstate 84.

On Thursday afternoon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said about 900 people were being evacuated from more than 400 homes. The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations along several roads in Mosier. A hotel in The Dalles is available as a shelter.

Rich Tyler, a spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that four structures had burned, but he didn’t know if they were homes. Dubbed the Mosier Creek fire, it’s believed to be human-caused, according to authorities.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Wednesday invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act, making more state resources available to fire crews. The state fire marshal’s office assumed command Thursday.

Christie Shaw, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Forestry, said the fire started as crews were mopping up another blaze in the same area. She said winds caused the Mosier Creek fire to spread.

Ground, helicopter and air tanker crews are working the blaze, the agency said.