PORTLAND, Ore. — High winds and warm temperatures are challenging Northwest firefighters, especially in the typically windy Columbia River Gorge where a windblown wildfire on the Washington side damaged three homes and smoke from a fire on the Oregon side temporarily restricted traffic on Interstate 84.
The National Weather Service says winds in the White Salmon, area gusted as high as about 30 mph Thursday. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stan Hinatsu says no one was injured in the roughly 10-acre fire but some people left their homes. Traffic on a nearby state highway was temporarily restricted. The spokesman told KATU-TV the fire was “in good shape” by Thursday evening.
On the Oregon side, KGW-TV reports that a small fire along I-84 near Multnomah Falls created so much smoke that travel was briefly restricted on the freeway.
In Portland, a spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue said crews had responded to more than 30 wildland fire incidents by Thursday evening. One hillside fire briefly closed a major area highway. Winds at Portland International Airport gusted to 44 mph.
The Weather Service says the hot, dry, windy weather is expected to continue into Friday in much of western Oregon and Washington.