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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

8/1/2017 Indian Creek Fire Update

Indian Creek Fire Update
Tuesday, August 1, 2017    10:00 a.m.

 Location:  Approximately 20 miles west-southwest of Hood River, Oregon in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness on the Hood River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest

The 74-acre Indian Creek Fire is a suppression fire with a confine strategy. Firefighters are working to contain the fire, largely using natural features such as ridges and rock outcrops to keep it from spreading, and by using aerial applications of water to slow the fire's spread.

Hotter, drier weather is forecast for much of the Pacific Northwest over the next few days, increasing fire danger and the potential for existing fires, including the Indian Creek Fire, to become more active and grow in size. Fire managers are closely monitoring weather conditions and fire behavior. The primary suppression tactic used on the Indian Creek Fire has been using a Type 1 “heavy” helicopter to drop water on the fire to cool hot spots, moisten fuels around the fire, and raise the relative humidity.

A combination of low, moderate, and high intensity fires has been a natural part of the ecosystem around Eagle Creek for eons. Low-intensity fires, like the Indian Creek Fire, occur more frequently than large, high severity burns. Small  fires can create openings in the forest canopy that provide landscape diversity and have high ecological value.

Fire danger is escalating – please be very careful with fire! Build campfires only in areas clear of all flammable materials. Keep campfires small, and use wood short enough to stay completely inside your fire ring. Make sure any campfire is completely extinguished and cool to the touch before leaving it. Do not drive or park in tall grass or brush where the hot vehicle exhaust can ignite a fire. Fireworks are prohibited on all National Forest land.

The Pacific Crest Trail is still open, but a closure is in effect for other recreation sites near the fire. The northern portion of Eagle Creek Trail #440 off of Interstate 84 is open, but it is closed within the boundaries of the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness. Punchbowl Falls is accessible, but Tunnel Falls is inside the closure. Forest Road 1310 is closed, along with Wahtum Lake and Indian Springs Campgrounds. 

Water is available for PCT hikers at Indian Springs but no camping is allowed within the closure area. PCT hikers may camp at Benson Plateau or in dispersed locations along the PCT. A map and full listing of closures can be found in the websites below.

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

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