Third home destroyed by wildfire near The Dalles - KPTV - FOX 12

Third home destroyed by wildfire near The Dalles

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Strong winds continue to stoke an 8,400-acre wildfire in the Columbia Gorge that has burned a third house and is now pushing into the edge of the Mount Hood National Forest.

On Wednesday afternoon, the fire jumped a containment line threatening homes on Wells Road. As a result, a Level II evacuation was issued for those living on Wells Road.

Fire spokesman Justin de Ruyter said Wednesday the Government Flat Complex has grown to more than 13 square miles in an area 10 miles southwest of The Dalles. It is 15 percent contained.

Ranked as the top priority fire in Oregon and Washington -- and fourth in the nation -- the fire continues to get new personnel despite a crunch on nationwide firefighting resources. More than 800 people are fighting the fire. The cost has gone over $13 million after five days.

Around 150 people gathered at a community meeting for an update on the wildfire Tuesday night. Residents, including a woman who lost her home on Mill Creek Road, expressed their concerns about the fire.

Sara Burchfield and her family left their home on Mill Creek Road on Saturday, packing up everything she could, including her animals. On Sunday, the wildfire burned down her house, one day before Burchfield's birthday.

"I'm going to be honest with you. It looked like Armageddon to me. It just looked like a napalm bomb hit it from our trailer all the way back through the driveway," she said.

Others who live nearby have been watching this fire since it first started. Even those who are still several miles away aren't taking any chances.

They're ready to leave if the fire moves their way.

"This has been a really hard and weird week.  I think are nerves have been on edge and it's been psychologically difficult for us," said Lee Weinstein, who lives near the fire.

Officials said ash fallout spotted in the Parkdale and Odell areas from the Government Flats Fire Complex is a common occurrence and deemed to be safe. They said the  fallout is expected to discontinue by early Thursday when winds shift from the east to a westerly flow.

Seventy-three homes and 80 other buildings remain threatened by the fire. Though it's possible the threat to homes could pass Wednesday, fire officials haven't said when residents will be able to go back home.

Evacuations currently in effect:

  • Level II (Set) for Obrist Road and Wells Rd.
  • Level III (Go) for 9500 block Upper Mill Creek Road east to 6500 block of Mill Creek Road.


Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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