Wildfires burning in Oregon and Washington Monday are not as serious as fires in other parts of the West. Still, the Ana Fire in Oregon and the Dry Creek Fire in Washington are slowing traffic and prompting some pre-evacuation notices.
Drivers on the main route between Bend and Lakeview should expect delays of up to two hours, but Oregon Highway 31 has reopened to traffic. Hundreds of firefighters are in the area battling the Ana wildfire, which is burning largely out of control over more than 3000 acres of grass, sage brush, and juniper.
It started near the small community of Summer Lake. Investigators suspect it was human caused because there weren’t any reports of lightning in the area.
Fire information officer Sarah Saarloos says a team is attacking the fire with air tankers, engines, and hand crews, but the blaze continues to grow.
“We’ve been dealing with very hot and dry weather, with windy conditions and also wind shifts,” she said.
Saarloos said a new regional team is arriving on the scene to coordinate the firefighting effort. That will give local teams time to recover and prepare for any new fires in the area.
A wildfire north of White Salmon, Washington is burning on private and state timber land, threatening spotted owl habitat. The Dry Creek Fire is burning over several hundred acres of timber land between Husum and Trout Lake. Dozens of people living in the area have been told to be ready in case they need to evacuate.
Jaco Klinkenberg lives about a mile and half from the fire line.
“Somebody told me grab your pictures. So I grabbed my pictures. You know, and I grabbed a bag of clothes. And after that, you know, what do you do?”
Klinkenberg says she’s less afraid for her house now that winds have died down and multiple firefighting teams and helicopters are attacking the fire. The White Salmon area is a popular destination for summer whitewater rafting.
Klinkenberg, who owns the Wet Planet rafting company, says the fire is burning north of the main recreation area. Outfitters are still running their standard trips on the White Salmon River.