Wildfires still burning in national forest, Gorge

Firecrews at Jolly Mountain, Eagle Creek and Norse Peak


The Jolly Mountain Fire continues to burn between Ronald and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

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The Jolly Mountain Fire continues to burn between Ronald and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.



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A Chinook helicopter carrying water from the Columbia River heads southwest toward the Eagle Creek Fire west of Cascade Locks, Ore.

— Three forest fires that sent most of the recent smoke into the Yakima Valley are still going strong.

And they are not going away anytime soon.

Estimates for full containment on all three is by Oct. 15, officials said.

But the changing weather will likely will help keep the smoke away.

The Jolly Mountain Fire burning between Ronald and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in the Cle Elum Ranger District of Okanogn-Wenatchee National Forest was ignited by lightning on Aug. 11.

It had grown to 29,432 acres yesterday, officials said, noting it is only about 10 percent contained.

They are shooting for full Containment by Oct. 15.

Norse Peak Fire, one of 13 fires ignited by lightning Aug. 11 in the vicinity of the William O. Douglas and Norse Peak Wilderness Areas on the Naches Ranger District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, is still shuttering state Highway 410 and the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier National Park.

The fire is burning in steep, rocky terrain, with difficult access, officials said, noting two of the other fires have reached “significant” size and remain active.

Norse Peak, north of state Highway 410 near Union Creek, has grown to 49,997 acres. Fire officials said yesterday that they have 12 percent containment, and predict full containment by Oct. 1.

Eagle Creek Fire — which has stopped traffic on Interstate 82 between Hood River and Troutdale, Ore., in the Columbia River Gorge — had grown to 33,382 acres.

Containment was at 7 percent yesterday, officials said, noting at least 2,000 burnt trees need to be felled before the state Department of Transportation will reopen the east-west interstate.

Fire crews working that blaze are focused on

structure protection, and have kept the flames visibile from Washington state from destroying historic Multnomah Lodge.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels helped slow fire growth over the next several days.

But conditions changed and fanned the flames, officials said, noting the blaze has jumped the Columbia River near Stevenson and is growing again.

The Eagle Creek Fire is believed to have been caused by a teenager playing with fireworks, officials said, noting specifics remain under investigation by Oregon State Police.

Fire officials expect to have Eagle Creek fully contained by Sept. 30.



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