36 Pit Fire burns on, Estacada covered in smoke
State resources assist with 3,588-acre fire
With the 36 Pit Fire continuing to burn in forest land about 10 miles east of Estacada, Gov. John Kitzhaber has declared the disaster a conflagration, allowing state resources to assist in battling the fire.
As of 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, Russ Lane, of the Oregon Department of Forestry, reported the fire has reached 3,588 acres and is 0 percent contained.
The fire was believed to be caused by target shooting near Milepost 36 on Highway 224 on Saturday, Sept. 13, and has spread rapidly.
The fire has spread through grass and timber in part due to the steep slope and dry conditions in the area.
What had been reported as a 30-acre fire on Saturday evening was around 1,000 acres by Sunday afternoon and had more than doubled in size Monday.
Although Lane said weather should turn in their favor later today, with lighter winds and more humidity, responders are now using aircraft to battle flames.
This should lessen the fires intensity and aid firefighters on the ground in attempting to minimize the fire's growth.
Authorities evacuated and closed the Ladee Flats designated off-highway vehicle area, Lazy Bend Campground, Work Center and Silver Fox RV Park and Highway 224 has been closed from North Fork Reservoir east to Ripplebrook.
Although Rick Scriven of the Washington Incident Management Team reported no structures have been burned, level three evacuation notices have been issued.
All residents of Southeast Fall Creek Road and Southeast Michaels Road have been notified to evacuate the area. Residents of Southeast Divers Road between Southeast Fall Creek Road and Southeast Tumala Mountain Road as well as those on Southeast Tumala Mountain Road between Southeast Divers Road and the east end of the road have been notified to prepare for evacuation.
The Forest Service announced that the Big Eddy, Carter Bridge and Fish Creek campground and day-use areas and the Lockaby and Armstrong campgrounds have also been closed due to the fire.
In addition, Forest Service Road 4610 has been closed from its junction with Highway 224 to its junction with Plaza Creek and Forest Service Road 45 had been closed from the western forest boundary to its intersection with Highway 224 near the Lazy Bend Campground.
Forest Service Roads 4611, 4612 and 4613 and the Old Baldy, Fanton and Huxley Trails have also have been closed.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter for those displaced by the fire at the Estacada First Baptist Church.
Julia Bishop, of the American Red Cross, said that more than 20 people stayed at the shelter or in RVs in the parking lot Sunday and Monday night.
The Red Cross is providing counseling and health services and meals as well as shelter.
Bishop said moral seems to be good among those at the shelter. The Red Cross has been relaying regular updates, which Bishop said is giving hope and confidence.
"Some left so quickly that they have little personal items with them," she said.
Even pets that were forced to leave their homes are being accommodated. Estacada First Baptist Church has been accepting donations for those utilizing the shelter.
On Tuesday, Sept. 16, Wendell Stoller and his wife, Dorinda, of Damascus, donated two large garbage bags full of dog food divided into Ziploc bags.
"We were going to give it to the homeless," Stoller said. "We saw there was a need here, so we brought it out."
As of a 12:35 a.m. Monday press release from Estacada Rural Fire District No. 69, the fire continued to threaten the Silver Fox RV Park, and residents had not been allowed to return.
Estacada Fire Chief Bob Morrisey said a Washington County task force worked through the night to protect structures and other property at the Silver Fox RV Park.
Connie Redmond of the Estacada Fire Corps said preliminary evacuation warnings are meant to give residents time to make arrangements for themselves and their animals so that they may be prepared if they need to evacuate.
Morrisey said the fire district uses a reverse 9-1-1 system to notify residents of evacuation notices or other emergencies.
He urged residents to register their cell phone numbers and addresses to receive reverse 9-1-1 calls.
Residents may sign up here: www.clackamas.us/emergency/ccens.html.
In the event of the need for evacuation, Morrisey said that fire personnel will make every attempt to give advanced, or Level 1 notification that residences may need to evacuate; warning that evacuation is imminent, or a Level 2 notification, and a Level 3 notification when it is absolutely necessary to leave.
Law enforcement personnel will contact each address during a Level 3 evacuation.
Estacada Fire District 69 is posting updates on the 36 Pit Fire on its website and Facebook and Twitter pages.
Redmond said residents may call the Fire Department at 503-630-7712 if they are concerned about their area.
Authorities have urged residents not to call 9-1-1 if they see smoke.
9-1-1 should only be called if a fire is seen or in case of another emergency.
A heavy cloud of smoke and ash continues to permeate Estacada, making the air outdoors uncomfortable to breathe. The smell of smoke continued well into Tuesday afternoon.
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.
The center also recommends minimizing the use of indoor air pollutants such as burning 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.
Estacada School District officials said that recess and PE classes are being held indoors and no aerobic activity has been scheduled for students.
After school sports activity is canceled and the school districts athletic fields are closed to school and community teams.
In addition, the school district has masks available for students walking between buildings for classes at the Estacada Junior High School and high school.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT