Burn zone tour gives first look at effects of fire on Eagle Cree - KPTV - FOX 12

Burn zone tour gives first look at effects of fire on Eagle Creek Trailhead

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It’s one of the areas still closed from the Eagle Creek Fire, but reporters were allowed in to see the Eagle Creek Trailhead Friday for the first time since the fire started.

There is a lot of damage, but not everything burned. The fire actually started about a mile from the trailhead, and it appeared as though the fire line spread very quickly, coming right down to the edge of the parking lot.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service said the trail itself will stay closed until the spring at the earliest, noting that it is just too dangerous for people right now.

“Right around the corner here, one of the first bridges you cross is burned, so getting access to the trail is challenging, even for the experts,” Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Rachel Pawlitz explained.

The kiosk at the trailhead still stands after firefighters worked to protect it as the line of fire burned all around it. Most people don’t know it was the first developed campground in the Forest Service and it was built more than 100 years ago, in 1916.

Liz Schnackenberg, a member of the Forest Service’s Burn Area Emergency Response or BAER team, said they’re looking throughout the burn area at risks like erosion, crumbling trails, falling trees and rocks and landslides, figuring out where they can help.

One solution they are already considering is a fence above Multnomah Lodge to protect it from falling rocks.

“There are things happening out there already and that’s without any rain that usually lubricates and gets things rolling, so it definitely raised our awareness for potential safety concerns,” Schnackenberg said.

The final report from the BAER team should be available late next week, and as soon as it’s approved, that gives the authority to the team to begin work here in Gorge, which could start as soon as October 15.

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