Columbia River Gorge wildfire crews move to 'mop-up' phase

A wildfire burning in the scenic Columbia River Gorge that has destroyed dozens of structures is 65% contained, according to authorities.

KOIN reports that some evacuation orders were downgraded as of Monday because of the containment progress. The fire has burned nearly 1,000 acres (404 hectares).

The Oregon Department of Forestry said Monday morning 36 structures have been destroyed and about 660 remained threatened. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s office said later Monday that crews were moving to the ‘mop-up’ phase, that state fire marshal resources were demobilizing and that local authorities would handle the blaze.

“Though the Mosier Creek Fire saw no loss of life or serious injuries, for the families who lost their homes and property, this was a devastating event,” Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said in a news release. “The coordinated system in Oregon that brought together resources from local and state agencies quickly combined into a unified command structure that addressed the incident safely.”

Gov. Kate Brown on Monday visited the site of the Mosier Creek Fire, visited a fire line and met with a family whose home was destroyed.

“I’d like to thank the incredible men and women on the frontlines fighting to protect the homes and livelihoods of so many in Wasco County,” Brown said in a news release. “We must continue to remain vigilant and do all we can to prevent additional wildfires, especially since 90% of all wildfires this season are human caused.”

She added that hot, dry conditions are expected to continue in Oregon.

Over the weekend a wildfire in Bend in central Oregon scorched scores of vehicles at an auto wrecking facility. Acres of vehicles were hollowed out, with windshields melted onto steering wheel frames and molten metal littering the ground in now-hardened pools.

“It’s pretty well charred up,” Matt Sprauge, B&R Auto Wrecking’s manager, told the Bend Bulletin.

Sprauge learned about the fire around 4 p.m. Saturday. The cars smoldered throughout the night and by Sunday, some parts were still smoking, and small fires flared up on the lot.