Wildfires near The Dalles burns almost 1,000 acres, Gov. Brown sends resources

THE DALLES, Ore. — Fires scorched an estimated 987 acres of land near The Dalles on Thursday night, ushering Oregon Governor Kate Brown to invoke the Emergency Conflagration Act to send additional resources to help response efforts.

Highway 197 was temporarily closed on Thursday for local fire crews to contain the spread. The highway has since been re-opened. Level 1 and Level 2 evacuations were set in place to ensure the safety of people from the region.

Authorities from the Wasco County Sheriff’s Office say that strong winds near the 3100 block of Valley View Dr around 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 pushed the fire through brush and wheat. So far, authorities say that the fire damaged a barn, an outbuilding, numerous vehicles, and a portion of a cherry orchard in the community.

Firefighters say that the homes in the area were protected and no injuries were reported. Over 100 firefighters responded to the scene including crews from Dallesport Fire, Dufur Fire, Mosier Fire, taskforces from Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, and Hood River, Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service.

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Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue led the response throughout The Dalles on Thursday. The Oregon State Fire Marshal re-assigned task forces assigned to a separate fire to coordinate an aerial response from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

“Without the resources, we had today, including the three additional task forces and air support from OSFM, we would not have stopped it as quickly and the fire would have grown much larger,” said Chief Robert Palmer. “What the state is doing is working. We were able to better protect properties with their assistance and support.”

On Friday morning, Gov. Brown announced that additional resources from the state are being sent to assist with fire control.

“This year’s fire season is already proving to be serious, as I have invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the second time this week to make more state resources available to the fire crews on the front lines in Wasco County at the Wrentham Market Fire, and now, the Sunset Valley Fire,” Governor Brown said. “As we head into the 4th of July weekend, it is imperative that all Oregonians remain mindful of fire safety and prevention. Please remember to be prepared, responsible, and to honor all burn bans.”

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