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Blackburn Fire spreads north and west

Evacuations eased on Mill Creek

A significant increase in fire activity, aided by east winds, has resulted in the Blackburn Fire, one of three fires in the Government Flat Complex, spreading to the north and west.

Fire officials mounted an aggressive air and ground attack on the fire front throughout the afternoon and evening to slow its spread. Spot fires were being observed up to one-quarter mile ahead of the fire front. Heavy smoke and ash fall have been observed in portions of Hood River County and western Wasco County. These conditions are normal and temporary but may extend several miles downwind of an actively burning wildfire. The full extent of today's fire spread and an update on fire containment will be reported in tomorrow morning's news release.

Evacuation Status:

  • New Information for the 9500 block Upper Mill Creek Road east to the 6500 block of Mill Creek Road: At 8:00 p.m. this evening (August 21), the evacuation status will be revised from Level III to Level II
  • Wells Road is in Level II evacuation status
  • Obrist Road is in Level II evacuation status

These roads will remain closed to non-resident traffic until further notice.

Residents in areas with Level II evacuation orders should remain on alert, as conditions could change quickly.Residents of the affected areas should prepare for immediate departure in the event that a full evacuation (Level III) is ordered.

When you hear the terms Level I, II, or III evacuation notice, remember "ready, set, go." Level I means be aware of the fire in your area and start getting ready, Level II means make final preparations and get set to evacuate, and Level III means evacuate immediately--GO NOW.

For information regarding the evacuation, please contact the Wasco County Sheriff's Office at 541-506-2580 during business hours.

Other developments:

  • Fire officials report one residence and two additional outbuildings were burned today, bringing the total to four residences and nine outbuildings damaged or destroyed since the fire began on August 16.
  • The fire has burned onto the Mt. Hood National Forest. It has been burning on a mix of private ownership, City of The Dalles ownership, and Bureau of Land Management land.
  • Yesterday, the northeast corner the fire burned slowly down slope into the Mill Creek drainage along Upper Mill Creek Road and South Fork of Mill Creek drainage along Reservoir Road. Firefighters are further securing these firelines today.
  • Structural fire engines and firefighters are continuing to secure and patrol homes, other structures along Upper Mill Creek and Reservoir Roads, as well as the water treatment plant.

Mt Hood National Forest Closures:

  • Forest Road 1722 on the east end
  • Forest Road 4430 at the 1720 junction
  • Forest Road 160 at junction with 4440
  • Forest Road 1720 at the east end
  • Forest Road 17-660
  • Forest Road 1711-630

The Knebal Springs Campground is inaccessible due to road closure on the 1720 Road. For more information regarding the Mt Hood National Forest click to their web site: Forest Service Notice

There are 823 firefighters and support personnel working the fire complex. Efforts are being supported by 29 hand crews, 27 engines (both wild land and structural), 9 helicopters, 11 dozers, and 8 water tenders. The National Guard has arrived with 3 additional helicopters. Three air tankers are available for today.

The fire complex is being managed under a unified command of Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team 3 (Incident Commander, Chris Cline) and Oregon State Fire Marshal's Green Team (Incident Commander, John Ingrao).

Cooperators working the incidents include Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, BLM, US Forest Service, City of The Dalles, Wasco County Sheriff's Office, Wasco County Emergency Operations Center, American Red Cross, USDA Forest Service, Oregon National Guard and Oregon State Police.

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