The slopes flanking West Burnside are notorious for landslides in heavy rain, with more than 60 landslides in the West Hills last winter.
Early Friday morning, crews responded to a landslide in Washougal that closed Washougal River Road. No one was hurt and there was no major damage, but it’s certainly a preview of what’s to come.
Bill Burns with the Oregon Department of Geology told FOX 12 Portland’s West Hills are always a trouble spot, but the terrain burned up by the Eagle Creek Fire is an even bigger concern right now.
With trees and ground cover gone, the risk of major mudslides and debris flows is much greater.
For those living above or below a hillside, Burns said to listen for rocks shifting or trees snapping, which can be signs that a landslide is imminent.
He also said too much rain runoff or clogged storm drains can also trigger slides.
“We know that concentrating water into one location is one of the things that causes landslides,” Burns explained. “So first, getting outside and looking for that, and second, trying to stop that from happening.”
Volunteers will be going door to door in some communities in the Gorge Friday night to warn people about landslide risks.
Multnomah County Emergency Management officials have a number of resources available for residents facing a higher risk of landslides due to the Eagle Creek Fire, all of which are available at MultCo.US.
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