Eagle Creek Fire grows slightly near Herman Creek, I-84 still cl - KPTV - FOX 12

Eagle Creek Fire grows slightly near Herman Creek, I-84 still closed

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The Eagle Creek Fire has continued to grow slightly, with the latest infrared images of the wildfire putting its size over 34,000 acres.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service said Monday morning during a news conference that while there was some growth along Herman Creek, a good part of the new acreage is from burnout operations done to set fire lines.

The Forest Service also noted that while they expected windy and dry conditions Monday they did not believe it would cause significant new growth in the fire.

They also noted that there had only been around 100 acres burned in the Bull Run Watershed Management Area.

The Oregon Fire Marshal’s Office noted during the news conference that five of the task forces working on structure protection were being released from the fire, noting there was a plan was in place to bring them back if needed. Fire Marshal spokesperson Lt. Damon Simmons said there were still nine task forces in place.

Simmons added that conditions are improving for crews and that they have had “probably four or five good days” of working being done to contain the fire.

He also said evacuation levels remained unchanged but that getting people back in their homes was a “big priority” for crews, along with assisting the Oregon Department of Transportation clear roadways and the areas around them.

A spokesperson for ODOT said the interstate remains “an active evacuation zone” and that fire is still burning nearby. ODOT is working with crews to clear the road but said that eastbound lanes would not be reopened for at least a week due to efforts to clear boulders and other rockfalls near the Toothrock Tunnel.

A forester for ODOT identified around 3,500 trees in danger of falling into the roadway, and crews have cleared about 2,000 since Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard opened up the Columbia River to all traffic Sunday but is still asking for boaters to give fire crews a wide berth.

Investigators with the Oregon State Police told FOX 12 Monday that it will likely be several weeks before they wrap their investigation into the start of the fire.

Troopers have said they believe a 15-year-old boy from Vancouver started the fire but said they will not release his name because he is a minor and threats that have been made against him.

District attorneys will decide of pursuing charges against the teen following the investigation.

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