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Sunday, July 30, 2017

7/30/2014 Indian Creek Fire Update

Indian Creek Fire Update

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Location:  13 miles east of Multnomah Falls, west side of Eagle Creek, 5.5 miles upstream from I-84; Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness within the Hood River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest
The western edge of the Indian Creek Fire was showing smoke on Saturday morning and it was cooled by multiple buckets of water as the helicopter went through two cycles of fuel.  No new hot spots were detected by overnight infrared (IR) imagery.

Firefighters received approval to use Wahtum Lake as a water source for their operation on Saturday, which resulted in 40% less flight time over the forest. Wahtum Lake is much closer to the fire, its depth allows quicker filling of the bucket, and the flight from the lake to the fire is all downhill. Wahtum Lake is significantly larger than the previous water source and water removal will have less of an impact.

Though the fire has remained at 74 acres, crews report seeing more smoke than usual coming up the drainage. The fire is mostly smoldering and creeping but sometimes breaks out into open flame. Branches on the ground larger than an inch in diameter are not burning completely because of dampness in the deep canyon and the water drops which have soaked the soil and the woody material near the fire’s edge. In drier conditions these smaller branches – along with much larger logs -- would be fully consumed.

On the slope above the fire there is a high density of limbs, logs, and broken wood fragments on the ground because of last winter’s ice storm. This “high fuel load” on steep ground makes it more dangerous for firefighters and increases the complexity of managing the fire. With drier conditions forecast for the coming week, firefighters are concerned that fire behavior will increase.
Fire managers are requesting the public’s assistance in preventing additional fires. “The public is our first line of defense,” stated Incident Commander Mike Quesinberry. “With even drier, hotter weather coming later this week, we ask everyone to be as careful as possible with any activity that might ignite a fire.”

The Pacific Crest Trail remains open. Hikers who need water can find it at Indian Springs. Otherwise, an Area Closure is in effect. Eagle Creek trail is closed within the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Wahtum Lake Campground and Indian Springs Campground are closed. A map and a full listing of closures can be found athttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5403/

Websites:  Indian Creek Fire Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5403/
Mt. Hood National Forest Facebook: http://facebook.com/mthoodnf

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