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Forest fire spreads near Estacada

Photo Credit: KOIN 6 NEWS - The fire near Estacada had grown from 30 to approximately 1,000 acres by Sunday afternoon.A sprinkling of ash and a cloud of smoke are hovering over the Estacada area due to a large fire on the Mt. Hood National Forest about 10 miles southeast of Estacada.

Crews have been battling the flames, believed to be caused by target shooting near Milepost 36 on Highway 224, since Saturday, Sept. 13.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Heavy smoke was visible from the media staging area near Promontory Park on Highway 224 near Milepost 31. In an announcement issued at 6:58 p.m. Saturday, Laura Pramuk, public affairs officer for the Mount Hood National Forest said the fire encompassed an estimated 30 acres of forest land. But by noon Sunday, the fire had grown to about 1,000-acres, and seems to be spreading rapidly.

The fire has consumed grass and timber and has spread in part due to the steep slope, high temperatures and dry conditions in the area, Pramuk said.

Reports have been made from as far as Portland and Oregon City of people able to see the smoke.

As of noon Sunday, Pramuk, estimated about 100 fire personnel were either en route or already fighting the fire and more would arrive throughout the day.

In a press release issued at 12:48 p.m. Sunday, Pramuk said Estacada is not threatened at this time.

The Ladee Flats designated off-highway vehicle area, Lazy Bend Campground, Work Center and Silver Fox RV Park were evacuated, and Highway 224 has been closed from the North Fork Reservoir east to Ripplebrook.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Mark Nikolai told reporters that rocks have been falling onto the roadway.

While the debris is being cleared for emergency response vehicles, Nikolai said the spills have created a hazardous situation for responders.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter at Estacada First Baptist Church for those displaced by the fire. More than 20 people had checked in at the shelter Sunday morning or used the parking lot to stay in RVs.

Red Cross workers said about 14 people will stay at the shelter or in RVs in the parking lot through the night.

The shelter also has kennel crates available for dogs and cats.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - Displaced Silver Fox RV residents Steve Reed, Kathy and Don Adams and Mike Rausch wait in the Estacada First Baptist Church parking lot. They had been evacuated around 9 a.m. Sunday morning and went to the Red Cross Shelter set up at the church.On Sunday afternoon, several displaced Silver Fox RV Park residents sat in the parking lot waiting for more information.

Don and Kathy Adams, Steve Reed and Mike Rausch said they were evacuated at about 9 a.m. Sunday.

Kathy Adams said they were told they had to leave immediately and that there wasn’t time to take their trailers.

Rausch worried about the cat he left behind at the park.

All expressed their gratefulness to the church for providing shelter.

Estacada Rural Fire District 69 announced on its website that crews have created a “defensible space” around the Silver Fox RV Park.

Estacada Fire also is patrolling areas around Southeast Fall Creek Road, Southeast Porter Road and Tumala Mountain Road.

If these areas need to be evacuated, fire personnel will utilize reverse 9-1-1, the fire district website, Twitter and Facebook pages to notify residents.

Clackamas County Emergency Operations Center has issued a warning that wildfire smoke may increase risk for adults and children with respiratory illness or a heart condition.

The center has urged Estacada area residents to drink lots of water, reduce the amount of time spent outdoors and to avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity.

Photo Credit: ESTACADA NEWS PHOTO: ISABEL GAUTSCHI - The shelter had several cots set up. Red Cross workers said about 14 Silver Fox RV park residents had registererd to spend the night at the church or in RVs in the parking lot.The center also recommends minimizing the use of indoor air pollutants such as cigarettes and candles or the use of gas, propane and wood burning stoves and furnaces, cooking and vacuuming.

Anyone experiencing health problems from the smoke should contact their health provider or seek urgent care or call 9-1-1 in the case of a medical emergency.

The public may call 503-668-1719 for information about the fire or visit http:/inciweb.nwcg.gov for updates.

The public is being cautioned against calling 9-1-1 unless they see fire — not smoke — or in case of emergency.

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