Community meeting held in Stevenson to discuss wildfires - KPTV - FOX 12

Community meeting held in Stevenson to discuss wildfires

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STEVENSON, WA (KPTV) -

A community meeting was held in Stevenson Friday night to discuss several fires burning in the area, including the Eagle Creek and Archer Mountain fires.

Smoke in Stevenson is bothering many locals. The thick smoke is drifting into town not only from the Eagle Creek fire, but also the Archer Mountain fire that’s burning a little more than 200 acres nearby. Fire crews say the Archer fire was started by an ember from the Eagle Creek Fire. Friends of the Columbia Gorge said that’s the first time the fire jumped the river in 115 years.

Juanita Snyder and her husband Peter say they were some of the first to be evacuated from Cascade Locks. They’ve been staying at the Red Cross evacuation shelter in Stevenson for five nights. 

“We’re heartbroken that one person could have caused this much harm. Heartbroken that people can stand on the bridge asking us to take pictures of them, watching out homes burn,” said Snyder.

Up the road at Stevenson High School, many in the community were gathering to discuss the fires and their concerns.

“In talking to the Red Cross, the fire people… the amount of support that has come out of this community, it’s huge. I hear all the people in Portland talking about their beautiful gorge, we live here,” said Tom Lannen, Skamania county commissioner.

“We’ve taken care of the forest, we’ve taken care of the land, I resent them calling it their playground,” said Anette Closum, who’s lived in Stevenson for 46 years.

Closum went on to say, “This is our home, we have our houses and family we raised our family here. They need to realize that we live here and we keep it nice. They play, they leave their rubbish and they build their fires and leave it for us to take care of,” said Closum.

“They don’t realize how painful that is for all of us,” said Snyder.

The Skamania County Sheriff said a big concern in Stevenson is the traffic on SR-14. Since a stretch of I-84 is closed on the Oregon side, many drivers are now using SR-14. The Sheriff’s office said it’s already seeing problems with drivers going too fast and passing vehicles when they shouldn’t. 

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