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Gorge fire grows to 40 acres

A small helicopter arrives to help fight a fire as it climbs up the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge just east of Hood River Wednesday morning. Mark B. Gibson photo

A small helicopter arrives to help fight a fire as it climbs up the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge just east of Hood River Wednesday morning. Mark B. Gibson photo Photo by Mark Gibson.

— A fire that started near the south side of the freeway about one mile east of Hood River Tuesday evening grew to about 40 acres this morning, burning through grass, oak and conifers on private and federal land.

“About 20 acres below the old highway are on fire,” said David Jacobs, unit forester for the Oregon Department of Forestry. “Sometime late last night it spotted above the old highway and is now on about 20 acres above the old highway.”

Forestry, US Forest Service Scenic Area and Mt. Hood forces, as well as local fire districts and other other mutual aid agencies are assisting on the fire. The fire is not threatening any structures at this time.

Light winds expected to drop off this afternoonmay favor the firefighters. However, temperatures are expected to be about 10 degrees above normal for the season and dry conditions mean added challenges.

Jacobs urged cautious with any fire because of the extremely dry conditions. Most outdoor fires are still banned under summer closures.

One lane of Interstate 84 eastbound remains closed today in the vicinity of the fire at milepost 66.

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