Troutdale residents prepare for the worst as wildfire approaches

East Troutdale on Level 1 evacuation

TROUTDALE, Ore -- On Tuesday morning, Bill Hunt and his neighbors in east Troutdale learned issued a Level One evacuation notice due to the Eagle Creek Fire. Level one means ‘be ready.’

“I was anxious all day,” said Hunt. “We talked about what we needed to do in the house.”

For Hunt, being ready meant filling his gutters with water, hosing down his roof and saturating his yard. Twice.

“My bark dust, I just didn't want embers to land there and get a fire going, so I soaked it all down,” said Hunt.

“The smoke and ash are terrible,” said Hunt’s neighbor, Frank Zednik, who built a defensible space around his home.

“In the backyard, I cleared out a whole bunch of brush, and I cut away all the brush around my house,” Zednik said.

Neighbors learned the power of one rogue ember, encouraged by the wind. In the gorge communities of Warrendale and Dodson, fire crept dangerously close to homes, Monday night, forcing Level 3 'get out now' evacuations.

Between Monday and Tuesday, the Eagle Creek Fire exploded, running 13 miles in 16 hours. It's why fire officials invoked the Level 1 evacuation warning in parts of east Troutdale. They hoped it won't turn into more.

“Right now I think that Troutdale is okay and actually, we've noticed kind of a shift in the wind right now,” said Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Damon Simmons. “That could push some of this fire back on itself.”

Neighbors said they’d rather stay in their homes than to have to pack up and leave. For Hunt, spending a few extra bucks on water to douse is home with, was the least he could do to feel prepared.

“Now I feel better,” said Hunt. “I feel a lot better.”

© 2017 KGW-TV


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