During these hot days, the Hood River Library is acting as a cooling station during their open hours. Everyone is welcome to come in and enjoy air conditioning, access to water and lots of comfortable places to sit and rest. The Library is open Tuesday through Thursday from 10am to 7pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10am to 6pm.
The Indian Creek Fire grew very slightly Tuesday, but is still considered to be 74 acres. It was the first day helicopters had not been used, as they were in for maintenance. The fire became more active and gained a little ground on the north edge. Helicopters resumed their drops Wednesday. A 20 person Cascade Type 2 Initial Attack crew is observing the fire and conducting reconnaissance for areas where fireline can be safely and effectively constructed. 63 total personnel are manning the fire. All the trails closed in the last week are still closed. Also, Wahtum and Indian Springs Campgrounds are closed. Eagle Creek Trail is open from the trailhead near I-84 to the Wilderness Boundary. The Pacific Crest Trail, Punch Bowl Falls and High Bridge all remain open. Tunnel Falls is closed. The estimated containment date is Saturday, September 30th. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Containment on the Emerson Fire about five miles northeast of Madras has moved up to 60 percent. Firefighters continued constructing and improving containment lines on the fire burning on private land and the U.S. Forest Service managed Crooked River National Grassland. The size estimate has been revised downward to be 10,527 acres. Six homes and seventeen other minor structures have been threatened by the fire. A Type 3 incident management team comprised of Prineville Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service firefighters has command of the fire and will continue working with Jefferson County Rural Fire District to manage the blaze. The fire was determined to be human caused.
Size of the Indian Creek Fire in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness remains at 74 acres, and has not shown signs of growth for several days. Dropping water from the Type 1 Chinook helicopter, up to 92,000 gallons a day, has raised the humidity and fuel moisture in the fire area, slowing the fire’s growth. The 20-person Gifford Pinchot National Forest Type 2 Initial Attack crew is observing the fire and conducting reconnaissance for areas where fireline can safely and effectively be constructed. Because of the difficult terrain and limited control options, this fire is expected to burn for a long period of time before it is controlled. The Mt. Hood National Forest expanded the trail and area closure in place for the area surrounding the fire. It now includes Eagle Creek Trail #440 from the boundary with the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness (to the north) to its terminus at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Also closed are the adjacent trails Eagle Benson #434, Indian Springs Trail #432, Eagle Tanner Trail #433, Chinidere Cutoff Trail #406M, and Tanner Butte Trail #401. Forest Service Road 1310 is closed east of the junctions with the 1311 to its terminus at Wahtum Lake. Tunnel Falls and the Wahtum and Indian Springs Campgrounds are closed. The Pacific Crest Trail, Punch Bowl Falls and High Bridge remain open.
Wasco County officials are getting ready for crowds coming to view the full solar eclipse on August 21. The northern edge of the path of totality is about eight miles south of Maupin. Wasco County Sheriff Lane Magill says they have received estimates as high as 40,000 people from the Maupin-Antelope-Shaniko area to the Jefferson County. He says the Sheriff’s Office is planning to establish two mobile command posts in that area during the days surrounding the eclipse, one at the Cow Canyon Rest Area and another at the Highway 26 and Highway 216 area. Magill says a letter was sent to residents of the area earlier this month detailing preparations they should make for the anticipated crowds coming to view the eclipse.
The Hood River County Fair continues on in Odell. Friday will mark the halfway point of the fair, and it brings with it one of its most important events. That’s the 4-H/F-F-A Livestock Auction, which Fair Manager Clara Rice says always brings plenty of community support for the youth who have worked with their animals over the past year. The auction starts at 4:30 p.m. Friday’s main stage entertainment includes Los Patrones De La Tierra Brava at 7:30 and Raza Obrera at 9:30.
Team Mosier, the group of governmental officials from that community that has been negotiating with Union Pacific Railroad on a settlement in the wake of last June’s oil trail derailment and fire, have accepted and recommended approval of an offer sheet from UP. The offer sheet from Union Pacific includes money for the fire district, school district, and City, along with details on work UP has paid for to repair the City’s wastewater treatment plant and safety issues the community wants addressed. UP’s first offer came about two weeks ago, and Team Mosier chair Terry Moore says it was revised in the wake of talks since then, as UP clarified what was and what was not a part of the offer. The agreement must be approved by the Mosier City Council, Mosier School Board, and Mosier Fire District Board. Those panels will take the issue up as their agendas allow.
Hood River City Manager Steve Wheeler says after a lengthy pause, work is moving forward again to create a dog park on City and Port property west of the municipal wastewater treatment plant. Mayor Paul Blackburn says one of the issues for the delay involved safety with the truck and trailer traffic and parking in that area, necessitating a mini-traffic study to determine how much parking is needed to avoid user conflict. Wheeler says he doesn’t yet have an estimate on when the dog park will be ready for use. The property has to be cleaned up, and fencing will need to be established to protect nearby bird habitat.
The Dalles City Council voted to approve providing water service for irrigation of a commercial marijuana growing operation outside of the city limits. Councilors had originally denied the request for an estimated use of 30,000 gallons per month between October and April at an operation on 6140 Mill Creek Road. But Mayor Steve Lawrence says the Council received some more information, and decided to approve the request, even though there was some concern about water usage. He added the amount requested is well within the City’s capacity. Councilor Russ Brown expressed a concern with precedent and what the next request might be, but fellow Councilor Linda Miller noted there are already food processors using much more water. The vote was 3-1, with Brown voting no. The grow operation has an irrigation right for water during the spring and summer months.
The Hood River County Fair opens Wednesday in Odell to start its annual four-day run. Fair Manager Clara Rice says the opening evening entertainment includes Frank Murray as Tom Petty on the park stage at 7:30, along with the Dancing Horses in the Frank Herman Arena at 7 p.m. There is still time to purchase the daily ride bracelets for a discounted price of $20. They are available until 5 p.m. Wednesday, and can be purchased at the fair office, Hood River Supply, Mid-Valley Market, McIssac’s Store, Jim’s Market, Juanita’s Market, and Columbia State Bank.