See a big plume of smoke that appears to be near Washougal?
That’s actually a wildfire near or on Eagle Creek Trail in Cascade Locks, Ore. Hikers are reportedly on the trail above the fire, attempting to evade the smoke, according to a news release from the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office.
Several people in Clark County have called 911 reporting the large plume of smoke, which is visible for miles. Eagle Creek Trail is a few miles west of the Bridge of the Gods. The fire is about one mile up the trail.
Several emergency responders with the sheriff’s office and Cascade Locks Fire are at the Eagle Creek Trailhead assessing the situation. The U.S. Forest Service is heading that way, along with search and rescue volunteers to help guide hikers safely off the trails.
News of the Eagle Creek fire came shortly before Gov. Jay Inslee proclaimed a state of emergency across all Washington counties due to growing wildfire concerns. His proclamation allows the use of Washington National Guard resources and directs state agencies to do everything they can to help areas impacted by fires.
There are more than 20 fires burning in Oregon and a handful around Washington, and they’re taking a toll on wildland firefighters. A wet spring followed by an unusually hot and dry summer brought an early fire season to the area. These fires have impacted air quality locally, though the Eagle Creek fire is the first to be visible from Clark County.
“Current weather forecasts predict continuing elevated temperatures throughout the state for the next seven days, providing hot and dry conditions, that, combined with the existing high-risk fire fuel conditions, support an active burning environment capable of producing significant multiple wildfires requiring the need for additional immediate response throughout the state,” Inslee wrote in the proclamation.
The Jolly Mountain Fire in Kittitas County has grown to more than 14,500 acres, prompting evacuation orders for nearly 4,000 homes.