Saturday, July 7, 2018

Memaloose Park Fire Update


News Release:  Memaloose Park Fire
Saturday July 7, 2018
5:00 p.m.

Contact:  Christie Shaw, Oregon Department of Forestry
                541-263-0661
                Stan Hinatsu, U.S. Forest Service
                541-490-0961
 
[Hood River, Ore.]  Firefighters on the Memaloose Park Fire worked today on strengthening the existing containment lines which were built last night to check the fire spread.  The sixty-five acre fire remains at 25% containment this evening.  Within the fire perimeter unburned fuels have slowed efforts to fully contain the fire.  Gordon Foster, Incident Commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry describes the fire as “a dirty burn with lots of potential risk due to the adjacent homes and campground facilities.”   Firefighters will work overnight continuing mop-up activities and looking for areas of heat and flames.

An Oregon state legislature severity funded Type 2 helicopter has been used to drop water on the fire today, focusing on heat and flames near the fire perimeter.  Funding for this helicopter is intended to reduce wildfire impacts to Oregon residents from fire, smoke, reduced water quality and other damages to natural resources.  Additional aerial resources are available to support the firefighters on the ground if needed.

The fire is threatening homes in the Rowena Dell area and Highway 30 is closed from Marsh Cutoff Road east to the Rowena interchange.  Current evacuation and closure information can be found on the Wasco County Sheriff’s facebook page:  www.facebook.com/WascoCountySheriff/.  This evening the Highway 30 closure will be evaluated for possible re-opening.  www.tripcheck.com will be updated as soon as this decision is made.  Memaloose State Park is currently closed to new campers entering the campground.   This closure is in place to ensure firefighter and public safety during firefighting activities.

Friday evening the fire burned through the westbound Memaloose Rest Area, managed by Oregon Travel Experience, causing minor damage to one of the buildings and burning the power transformer for the site.  The westbound rest area will remain closed until the electrical unit can be repaired.  The eastbound rest area is open.  No other buildings were damaged by the fire.

The fire burned lands within Memaloose State Park, Oregon Travel Experience’s Memaloose Rest Area, and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue protection, and some lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  The fire is human caused and under investigation.

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