New maps show gorge landslide hazards

New maps show landslide hazard in the gorge

Oregon state geologists released brand new interactive maps showing where landslides are more likely to happen in the Columbia River Gorge.

And they say the areas burned by the Eagle Creek Fire are even more at risk.

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Hours after the Eagle Creek fire erupted, Carson Schnackenberg had to pack up his most important belongings and evacuate his Corbett home.

Now back home, he is no longer worried about the fire. But he does have a heightened awareness about the possibility of landslides in the area.

That's because according to new interactive maps just released by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Carson's home sits right in the middle of an ancient landslide.

Click here to see the interactive maps

And while Carson is not worried about his home, he has seen the slope below it slide a bit.

"I feel like there's areas below here that definitely could give if we got a lot more rain all of sudden," he said.

Geologists say slopes that have slid in the past are much more likely to slide again.

And they point out the risk for sliding increases even more in those hazard areas that are also now burned by the fire.

"We know the susceptibility has gone up,  so yes, we are expecting to see some landslides," said Oregon state geologist Bill Burns. "How big and how often they will occur in this area, we don't know."

Burns helped build the interactive maps. He says their purpose is not to scare people, but to make them more aware.

"If they are out hiking and they look at their phone and zoom in to the map, they can know if they are in one of these hazard areas," he said. "And if they are, maybe be extra cautious."

© 2017 KGW-TV


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