Eagle Creek Fire now 17% contained; rain looms in forecast




PORTLAND — A fire burning for almost two weeks in the Columbia River Gorge is now 17 percent contained as rain looms in the weekend forecast.

Officials said they expect the 37,567-acre Eagle Creek fire to keep growing, predominantly to the south, at a slowed rate. Evacuations notices of varying severity remain in effect, though some evacuees have been allowed to return home. Interstate 84 remains closed.

Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Don Hamilton said Wednesday that the timeline for reopening the interstate’s westbound lanes between Troutdale and Hood River had been held up by fire activity and that workers continued to remove trees from along the eastbound interstate.

The agency is hoping to open the interstate’s westbound lanes first, he said. The Historic Columbia River Highway, which is closed between East Larch Mountain Road and Ainsworth State Park, is expected to be closed for a long time.

“Weather is predicted to remain cooler with higher relative humidity and light winds through this evening,” fire officials said in a written update Thursday. “Friday and Saturday may present some challenges, with a potential for light east winds and lower relative humidity. A significant rain event is still predicted for Sunday evening and Monday.”