August 14, 2015
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Department of Transportation has reopened Interstate 84 in Eastern Oregon after the freeway was closed Thursday afternoon in both directions between Baker City and Ontario due to a wildfire.
Residents of 57 homes in the area have been told to evacuate, with dozens more advised to be ready to leave.
Gov. Kate Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act just before 3:30 a.m., mobilizing fire crews from across the state to protect the threatened structures.
Crews were on their way from Yamill, Clatsop and Columbia counties, said Jamie Knight, an Oregon Department of Forestry spokeswoman. As of Wednesday night, the fire had charred 20 square miles. There were no reports of structural damage, Knight said.
“Fuels are very dry,” she said. “They’re in tough terrain with dry fuels and tough weather conditions, so all those things are lending themselves to the fire behavior that we’ve been experiencing and are expecting to experience.”
Between that fire and another nearby blaze, 57 homes were under immediate evacuation orders, 47 were told to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, and 41 are in areas that could become threatened, said Stefanie Kirby with Baker County Emergency Management.
Meanwhile, officials said U.S. Highway 26 through Warm Springs has reopened to traffic after having been closed Wednesday because of fire. Sparks from an RV’s trailer that lost a wheel ignited over a half-dozen fires along the highway on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, KTVZ reported.
A double-wide home was destroyed, and evacuation orders were issued for several areas, said Clay Penhollow, spokesman for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.