UPDATE, Aug. 19 

Th Wasco County Sheriff's Office has lifted all Level 1 evacuation notices for the Mosier Creek Fire, and the Level 2 surrounding area has been lowered to Level 1.

Over the last few days, crews have worked to ensure that control lines are secure, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. The mop-up standards state that all sources of heat and smoke within 300’ of the fire line will be mopped up; and these mop-up standards have also been applied to homes and structures that were affected by the fire.

The transfer of command back to The Dalles Unit of Oregon Department of Forestry occurred at 7 a.m. this morning. There will continue to be firefighters working in the area to complete further tasks in the mopping up process.

"Remember, this is still an active fire area and heavy equipment and periods of heavy traffic should be expected," said a press release from ODF, asking the public to refrain from visiting the area. "Fire weakened trees and hot ash pits can be hazardous." 

The Central Oregon District will continue to disseminate information as needed for the Mosier Creek Incident, said ODF. 

"The Incident Management Team would like to the thank the communities throughout the Columbia River Gorge for their welcoming attitudes and assistance through the course of the incident. The support that was shown to firefighters and command post personnel was greatly appreciated." 

UPDATE, Aug. 18

As firefighters continue working on mopping up the Mosier Creek Fire, the Wasco County Sheriff's Office has lifted all Level 3 (Go!) evacuation notices for the fire. However, the general public is advised to avoid the area burned by the fire "unless absolutely necessary" due to ongoing firefighting activity. 

"Some roads are restricted to local access only," said a press release from the Oregon Department of Forestry's (ODF) Incident Management Team. "Fire-weakened trees and burned roots covered by dust or ash might also still be hot enough to cause harm." 

The ODF Incident Management Team will transfer command of the fire back to ODF's The Dalles Unit tomorrow, and several local resources will continue to patrol and monitor the fire. 

The Oregon State Fire Marshal and structural task forces completed their structural assessment of the area yesterday, and confirmed that a total of eight residences were destroyed, along with 28 other structures. 

The Incident Management Team has determined that the fire was human-caused, but the specific cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

For the most recent updates on the fire, visit https://www.facebook.com/mosiercreekfire2020/, email MosierCreekFire2020@gmail.com, or call 541-316-0796 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

UPDATE, Aug. 15: 

Fire personnel continue to reinforce the perimeter of the Mosier Creek Fire. The fire is now measured at 985 acres and 30 percent contained.

Large equipment, air resources and firefighters are in and around the fire area. "Public and firefighter safety is our priority. We want to remind the community this is an active firefighting operation. Please choose alternative driving routes and do not enter the area," said the Unified Command organized by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) in a noon press release on Aug. 15. 

On Aug. 14, OSFM/ODF completed the first assessment of structures affected by the Mosier Creek fire. From the outset of the fire, 11 single family residences, two commercial properties and 18 outbuildings were destroyed. An outbuilding was also damaged.

"Two residences and the commercial properties were uninhabited. The loss of a home during a fire is a tragedy. Thankfully, Wasco County’s evacuation system worked effectively," said a press release.

There have been no injuries or fatalities at this time.

To receive evacuation alerts from Wasco County, you can sign up for reverse 911 at: https://member.everbridge.net/453003085612392/login

ODF and OSFM are in unified command.

As risks to structures diminish, OSFM will begin planning the transition of structure crews back to their home agencies.

ODF will continue to manage the fire after OSFM demobilizes, said the press release.

Today at 4 p.m., Unified Command is hosting a virtual Community Meeting. Local and state fire officials and community leaders will share fire updates and answer questions. A virtual meeting allows the IMTs to follow COVID Best Practices while also providing information to the public. To join the meeting, please go to: https://www.facebook.com/mosiercreekfire2020/ The meeting will be simultaneously translated into Spanish with instructions at the start of the meeting. 

 

UPDATE, Aug. 14: 

Crews report that the Mosier Creek Fire, now measured at 971 acres, is 10 percent contained. 

The fire is currently located two miles south of Mosier. The fire showed little movement the night of Aug. 13, and crews took advantage of the lower winds and cooler temperatures to reinforce existing fireline. 

"Our footprint stayed constant, due to the great work on night shift. Today is our first full day shift and the goal is to improve the line," said Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Commander Joel Hessel Friday morning. The Incident Management Team is a joint operation of the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) and the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM). 

Wasco County amended evacuation orders Friday afternoon (see sidebar, below) and crews have begun assessing residential and commercial structures for damage. As of Friday morning, an estimated 565 structures are threatened by the fire. 

 

High temperatures are a concern for crews over the next three days, as are potential pockets of unburned fuel that could impact fire suppression efforts. 

As of Friday morning, 381 personnel and were assigned to help contain the Mosier Creek Fire. Other resources include eight hand crews, 38 engines, seven dozers, 13 water tenders, nine assigned aircraft and eight structure task forces. 

The Incident Management Team has determined that the fire was human-caused, but the specific cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

For the most recent updates on the fire, visit https://www.facebook.com/mosiercreekfire2020/, email MosierCreekFire2020@gmail.com, or call 541-316-0796 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Aug. 13

(Editor's note: a previous version of this article stated that four structures had been destroyed by the fire. The incident management team has confirmed that only two structures have been destroyed.)  

In less than 24-hours, the Mosier Creek Fire has burned nearly 800 acres, destroyed two structures and endangered nearly 300 more, and caused roughly 900 people to be evacuated. 

 

The fire was first reported at 4:28 p.m. on Aug. 12. 

 

July Maus was driving home from work around 4:20 p.m. when she noticed smoke roughly 500 yards below her family’s home on Caroll Road. 

 

“I got there and screamed at everybody to get into the car,” said Maus, who lived on Caroll Road with her brother, his wife, her parents, her 88-year-old grandmother, and the family’s seven dogs. Family members were able to collect their birth certificates and the dogs, and “that was all we had time for,” said Maus. “We were out of there in under four minutes” 

 

By 10 p.m. that same day, it had grown to 500 acres. As of 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 13, crews used infrared data to determine that the fire was 791 acres, according to Lt. Rich Tyler of the Oregon State Fire Management Office.   

 

The Maus family is currently staying at a friend’s house, but they went back up to see their property on Aug. 13. “We just needed to see it for ourselves,” said Maus. Her brother lost his house and pretty much everything was destroyed, she said. A friend set up a GoFundMe for the family (https://www.gofundme.com/f/maus-family-support?utm_source=instagram&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=social) and they’re working out what to do next. 

 

“We just have an amazing support system,”said Maus,  “We’ve just been really well taken care of by our friends and our congregation … so it’s been really encouraging.” 

 

As of 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 13, the fire was 75 percent lined, but overall containment was “all depending on what happens with the winds today.” 

The Oregon State Fire Management Office and the Oregon Department of Forestry will officially take unified command of the incident at 6 p.m. tonight. 

Investigators have determined that the fire was human-caused, but the precise cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

 

The Wasco County Sheriff’s Office has issued Level 3, GO (Evacuate) Evacuation notices to all of Paradise Ridge Place Road, and everyone West of State Road. from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Road, and Level 2, GET READY Evacuation Notices to  everyone east of State Road, from Evergreen Terrace to Dry Creek Road.

 

The Shilo Inn in The Dalles, located at 3223 Bret Clodfelter Way, is serving as a Red Cross shelter for evacuees. 

 

Gov. Kate Brown has declared the Mosier Creek Fire a Conflagration, clearing the way for the State Fire Marshal to mobilize firefighters and equipment to assist local resources battling the fire.

The Office of State Marshal’s Blue Incident Management Team has been mobilized. Eight structural task forces from Clackamas, Washington, Marion, Yamhill, Deschutes, Columbia, Polk/Lincoln, and Multnomah counties, and personnel from the OSFM, are arriving this morning and this afternoon at staggered intervals using COVID-19 mitigation measures at the staging area in The Dalles. Crews will be working to protect threatened structures.

A COVID Module assigned to the team, consisting of a Health Liaison and two Responders certified as EMT or higher, will be at the incident to ensure COVID-19 mitigation measures are in place to ensure the safety of all personnel. Wasco County Public Health officials also were present at the incident in-briefing.

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