Wildfire Jumps from Oregon to Washington Closing Highway

Evacuation orders remain in place around Cascade Locks

 

Fire burns in the Eagle Creek area of Columbia River Gorge, Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Officials reported that they had rescued six hikers Sunday morning, who were among about 140 forced to spend the night outside near Tunnel Falls after a fire broke out near the popular Columbia River Gorge trail about 90 miles east of Portland. (Mark Graves/The Oregonian via AP)

 

By GILLIAN FLACCUS and NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press

TROUTDALE, Ore. (AP) — A lengthy stretch of highway east of Portland, Oregon, remained closed Tuesday morning as crews battled a growing wildfire that has also caused evacuations and sparked blazes across the Columbia River in Washington state

Hundreds of people have been forced to evacuate because of a seven-square mile (18-square kilometers) fire that started Saturday.

The blaze, which officials think may have been caused by fireworks, forced the shutdown of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of Interstate 84 east of Portland through the scenic Columbia River Gorge.

Authorities said Tuesday that embers from the fire caused a new blaze across the Columbia River in Washington state.

Evacuation orders remained in place in and around Cascade Locks, Oregon, for dozens of structures and businesses.

Ash coated cars left parked outside in the Portland metro area Tuesday morning. Many school districts canceled outdoor activities, sports practices and recess because of poor air quality. Some private schools and universities in the Portland area also canceled classes Tuesday because of heat and poor air quality.

Meanwhile, a wildfire burning near Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state grew to more than 29 square miles (75 square kilometers) and heavy smoke blanketed many cities in Washington state.

Mandatory evacuations were announced for the fire near Mount Rainier, including the Crystal Mountain ski resort, which closed Monday because of smoke.

The air quality in Spokane was rated as hazardous on Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says it was likely to get worse as wind shifts bring in smoke from fires in Canada, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

People in the Spokane region were advised to stay remain indoors.

All contents © copyright 2017 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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