Highway remains closed as Oregon fire jumps to Washington

TROUTDALE, Ore. -- A lengthy stretch of highway east of Portland, Oregon, remained closed Tuesday morning as crews battled a growing wildfire that has also caused evacuations and sparked blazes across the Columbia River in Washington state

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate because of a seven-square mile (18-square kilometers) fire that started Saturday.

The blaze, which officials think may have been caused by fireworks, forced the shutdown of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of Interstate 84 east of Portland through the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Authorities said Tuesday that embers from the fire caused a new blaze across the Columbia River in Washington state.

Evacuation orders remained in place in and around Cascade Locks, Oregon, for dozens of structures and businesses.

Ash coated cars left parked outside in the Portland metro area Tuesday morning. Many school districts canceled outdoor activities, sports practices and recess because of poor air quality. Some private schools and universities in the Portland area also canceled classes Tuesday because of heat and poor air quality.

Continuing coverage

    Meanwhile, a wildfire burning near Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state grew to more than 29 square miles (75 square kilometers) and heavy smoke blanketed many cities in Washington state.

    Mandatory evacuations were announced for the fire near Mount Rainier, including the Crystal Mountain ski resort, which closed Monday because of smoke.

    The air quality in Spokane was rated as hazardous on Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says it was likely to get worse as wind shifts bring in smoke from fires in Canada, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

    People in the Spokane region were advised to stay remain indoors.