Firefighters are battling the Dry Creek Fire roughly 12 miles north of White Salmon, Washington, in the Columbia River Gorge.
As of Monday evening, the fire was 400 acres and 10 percent contained.
It’s forcing the closure of a nine-mile stretch of Highway 141 north of Husum, from BZ Corner to Trout Lake, but a detour is in place.
Eighty homes are under a level-one evacuation notice, which means families don’t have to leave, but they have to get ready.
“We’re probably within 200 feet [of homes] in some places so it came fairly close, but we haven’t lost any homes yet,” fire spokesperson Randy Shepard said.
Anna and Dale O’Donnell are watching the fire line very closely. They reported the fire after they saw a glow in the hills across the highway from their home Friday evening, and they’re one of the many families ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
“There was just a little fire on the other side of a stump, just a glow, and we thought we better call it in,” Anna O'Donnell told FOX 12 Monday.
It’s a good thing they did.
Saturday, the wind fanned the flames to 400 acres and the fire jumped from the west side of Highway 141 to the east side in a few spots.
While the weather cooperated Sunday, firefighters are working in tough conditions with steep terrain and the potential for falling trees.
One firefighter got minor injuries after being hit with a rolling log.
“The only time we got worried was when we heard [the fire] jumped the road,” Dale O'Donnell. “We were afraid it would come back this way.”
The O’Donnell’s said they’ve gotten several calls from concerned friends and family members – and several offers of places to stay – but for now, they’re sticking it out at home and hoping the fire conditions improve.
“The wet spring we’ve had, a rather lengthy spring, is contributing to the growth of a lot of vegetation. So that, as it dries out, becomes fuel,” Shepard said. “So we’re seeing a very active early July, especially for Southwestern Washington or Northern Oregon. We don’t normally see [wildfire activity] until late July.”
The cause of the Dry Creek Fire remains under investigation. Nearly 300 firefighters and three helicopters are working to fight the blaze.
For the latest fire updates, go to: inciweb.nwcg.gov.
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