Rowena Fire Update 8/11
According to updated numbers, the Rowena Fire is now 68% contained and stands at 3,680 acres, up 7 acres from Sunday morning. That is due to a small spot fire that flared up Sunday afternoon in grass and scrub oak on McCall Point. It was quickly knocked down at approximately 7 acres by using water bucket drops from a helicopter, engines and crew personnel already on the fire. Following the helicopter drops, snags were felled and mop-up continued on the steep slopes above the homes along Highway 30. Infra-red cameras were used at night to locate remaining hot spots around McCall Point and around structures. Five Department of Corrections crews were utilized in the spot fire last night to further improve the line and mop-up.
The only areas still with evacuation level 1, which means be ready, are in the Rowena area from 5220 – 6464 on Highway 30. Most of Highway 30 is now open, except roadblocks will be placed in the area between 4877 and 5220 while crews are in the area. They will be removed by early evening.
According to fire officials, the remainder of the fire looks good, with crews close to meeting mop-up objectives. Today will see aggressive mop-up continuing on McCall Point and bucket drops continuing on the steep slopes. At last count there were402 personnel battling the fire, but barring unforeseen complications, that number will continue to go down. The public is still urged to be mindful of personal safety around the ongoing operations. Structural protection is now provided by Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue through the 911 system. Wildland resources remain on the fire for mop-up.
The Wasco County Evacuation Hotline is still open at (541)506-2792.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. It was earlier determined that the fire was NOT lightning-caused. Estimated cost of fighting the fire so far is over 3 and a half million dollars.
Fire danger remains high in the Northwest, with a possibility of thunderstorms continuing through most of the week in the region.