Rains helping with the Eagle Creek Fire now causing landslide co - KPTV - FOX 12

Rains helping with the Eagle Creek Fire now causing landslide concerns

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A downpour of rain in the Gorge may be good for helping put out the Eagle Creek Fire, but it also led to a Flash Flood Warning for fire-affected areas and grew concerns over landslides.

It began really coming down in the Gorge around 2 p.m. Wednesday, and after the fire destroyed trees and ground cover in the Gorge, the steep terrain in the area was left wide open for flooding and landslides.

Eastbound Interstate 84 is still closed between Troutdale and Hood River and the Historic Columbia River Highway is closed in Corbett, not only because of the ongoing fire danger but also potential landslides.

Oregon Department of Transportation workers have been on the ground removing unstable trees and boulders from the burned-out hillsides, while experts have been surveying the areas from a helicopter this week.

They are trying to pinpoint high problem areas with the greatest risk for landslides and drainage issues, especially around watersheds like Eagle Creek and Herman Creek. ODOT spokesman Don Hamilton said these concerns will last for months.

“It’s not really just a worry, today, tomorrow or this week. It’s really a worry throughout the rest of the winter and really for the next couple of years,” he explained. “We’ve had so much of the underbrush that has been burned away around in the gorge and that presents a real recipe for slides along in there.”

Hamilton told FOX 12 ODOT workers are making good progress on the eastbound lanes of I-84 east but added there is still no target date for when the road might reopen.

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