Eagle Creek Fire: One Year Anniversary

It is Labor Day weekend. Traditionally, the official end-of-summer.

It’s been a great summer. (Already I dread what’s ahead weather-wise.)

But I’m reminded of what happened last Labor Day weekend…

On September 2, 2017 someone throwing fireworks in a dry ravine started a fire!

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My first trip back to the gorge this last spring when there were still hot spots sending up smoke.

The following is a portion of the apology of the 15-year-old culprit.

“I know I will have to live with his bad decision for the rest of my life, but I have learned from this experience and will work hard to help rebuild the community in any way that I can,” he said. “I now realize how important it is to think before acting because my actions can have serious consequences.”

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The fire spread on both sides of Interstate 84 closing the freeway and the river to traffic for several weeks, evacuating families and hurting businesses.

The Eagle Creek fire burned and scorched nearly 49,000 acres.

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The fire trapped a 154 unprepared hikers in the forest overnight.

Only 30 miles from Portland, the fire abruptly shut down the 2017 tourist season causing tour operators searching for alternate activities for their disappointed travelers. Many of them had booked trips especially to travel the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway, and see the many beautiful waterfalls including Oregon’s tallest, 620′ high Multnomah Falls.

Locals were anxious and expecting the worse. Some parks reopened this season. The scorched earth is subject to land and rock slides, so most of the hiking trails remain closed..

The fire came within 40’ of the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge. Thankfully, firefighters worked through the night and saved the lodge from burning.

Although the Eagle Creek fire was caused by a teenager, many fires are started by natural disasters.

Nature survives.

It could’ve been worse.

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Many thousands of damaged trees have been removed and salvaged.

The teenager has been sentenced to 5 years probation, 1920 hours of community service and restitution of $36.6M of which he’ll never be able to repay even a fraction.

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