Fire consumes at least 20 acres and affects traffic on Interstate 205

After more than four hours battling a three-alarm wildfire on Government Island, firefighters have the fire under control and are working to prevent more fires from igniting.

Firefighters from Portland, Gresham and Vancouver had the fire under control by 5:45 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19, said Rich Chapman, spokesman for Portland Fire & Rescue. All the crews remained on the island to extinguish hot spots and monitor embers to make sure more fires don't start.

The fire was reported at 1:20 p.m. when callers to 911 noted a large field of grass on fire on Government Island in the Columbia River.

Flames spread to bushes and trees on the island, which isn't populated but is popular with campers and boaters.

Portland Fire & Rescue used boats to transport firefighters and equipment to the island. By 2:12 p.m., the fire department called for a second alarm when flames moved southward burning into the tree canopy.

Fire departments from Gresham and Vancouver joined Portland's crews to evacuate campers, dig fire lines, stretch hose lines and extinguish the fire. Meanwhile, as wind blew smoke east, residents across East Multnomah County flooded Gresham Fire & Emergency Services with reports of heavy smoke in the area.

An hour later, the Portland Fire Bureau called for a third alarm, bringing the total number of firefighters battling the fire to 80, and the total acres burned to about 20. By 5:45 p.m. firefighters had the fire under control.

The fire affected traffic along Northeast Marine Drive near the 42nd Avenue boat ramp, as well as both directions of Interstate 205, which crosses the island as the freeway's Glenn Jackson Bridge spans the Columbia River. Transportation officials also closed the northbound highway's right lane to help firefighters fight the fire.

Nobody was injured in the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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