Fire Management

Eagle Creek Fire Story & Data

JFire at night from across the riverust after 4 p.m. on September 2, 2017, a new fire start was reported roughly a mile from the popular Eagle Creek Trailhead in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. A nearby fire, known as Indian Creek Fire, had been smoldering about 7 miles up Eagle Creek Trail since July 4. U.S. Forest Service (USFS) firefighters responded within minutes, beginning work with available air resources from Indian Creek Fire and ordering additional air resources to drop water and retardant on the rapidly growing new blaze. Meanwhile, USFS coordinated with county officials and volunteers to rescue more than 150 hikers caught on the rugged, uphill south side of Eagle Creek Trail. As the fire grew to 3,000 acres overnight, it crested a ridge above the town of Cascade Locks, Oregon, prompting firefighters and law enforcement to call for parts of the town to evacuate.

On September 4th, east winds and excessive heat pushed the fire west towards small communities in Multnomah County, Oregon, and it spread across highly visible ridges of the National Scenic Area and closed Interstate 84. By the morning of September 5th, the fire had combined with nearby Indian Creek Fire to reach 20,000 acres and had thrown a spotfire across the Columbia River to Archer Mountain, Washington. The efforts of firefighters, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity helped slow fire growth in the days that followed, but the fire grew to the east and ultimately reached more than 48,000 acres.

The 2017 Eagle Creek Fire was highly visible, draped as it was across the slopes of a widely photographed and highly visited National Scenic Area. It captured widespread regional and national attention for various reasons. It rapidly spread through hillsides covered with a lush Western Cascades forest that had not seen a large wildfire in roughly a hundred years, rained ash down on the city of Portland, smoldered near the administrative boundary of Portland’s water supply at Bull Run, and closed key forms of transportation through the only sea-level route through the Cascades Mountain Range (including I-84, Union Pacific railroad, and Columbia River traffic). It affected commercial and recreational interests on the nearby Columbia River, a critical regional waterway with a large hydroelectric dam and several hatcheries.

Explore the fire experience and response through multimedia photos & video stories.

Maps & Data

Screenshot of flier about Eagle Creek Fire

Eagle Creek Fire At A Glance Factsheet (.pdf)

Team of soil experts assess soil damage from fire

Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) findings summary (.pdf)

Large image of the fire progression showing each stage in another color

Fire Progression Map

Graphic: map that shows soil burn severity

Soil Burn Severity Map (.pdf)

Grapic: map of landslides and debris flows past and present

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) used the soil burn severity assessment in their modeling to predict risk of debris flow within Eagle Creek Fire burn area.

Debris Flow Risk Map (USGS.gov)

Joe Hannon and Bill Schneider with the National Weather Service, Portland, OR.

A remote weather station NRAWS 4 (Tanner) TARO3 installed Oct 31, 2017 by the National Weather Service to support forecasting. Data from the station is available to the public.

 

Link to the Inciweb page

 

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