Fire crews hopeful Archer Mountain Fire contained today




Fire crews are hopeful that they’ll have the Archer Mountain Fire contained by the end of the day today.

Firefighters have already brought the 260-acre blaze to 70 percent containment, in large part due to colder temperatures and decreased winds, Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Nancy Marvin said.

“We think we can do it,” she said.

About 108 firefighters on 10 engines, one dozer and three water tenders are out in Skamania County today battling the fire, Marvin said.

The Archer Mountain Fire started as a spot fire from the Eagle Creek Fire when an ember jumped the Columbia River and ignited the blaze Sept. 5.

The Eagle Creek fire now covers almost 35,600 acres and is 11 percent contained — a jump in both acreage and containment.

The growth in the blaze is due to fire activity from the previous few days, said Sandy Roberts, a spokeswoman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal. Not all of the fire growth happened Monday night.

The seven-day forecast shows rain is on the horizon for the western Columbia River Gorge, and Roberts said fire officials are aware of the possibility of precipitation.

A half-inch to an inch of rain is expected to fall in the western Columbia River Gorge late Sunday night through Tuesday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tyree Wilde.

Many in Multnomah and Hood River counties remain under evacuation notices of varying severity because of the blaze. Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese told a crowd at a community meeting Monday that the agency hoped to let evacuees return to their homes soon. If fire lines hold as winds shift in the coming days, he said, deputies may allow staged re-entry to evacuated areas.

Interstate 84 is still closed in Oregon between Hood River and Troutdale because of fire danger and falling rocks, Oregon Department of Transportation officials said. Inspections have shown little damage to bridges and culverts along the freeway near the fire.

Workers so far have removed about 2,500 trees in danger of tumbling onto the freeway, officials said Monday.

The U.S. Forest Service has also prohibited most people from entering a large swath of the Oregon side of the gorge.

The order applies to anyone trying to use the area other than Bonneville Power Administration employees, Army Corps of Engineer staff, firefighters and fish hatchery workers.