CASCADE LOCKS, Ore. — It took more than three years for the popular Eagle Creek Trail to reopen following the devastating wildfire that scorched roughly 50,000 acres in the Columbia River Gorge.
Hikers were welcomed back to the trail on Dec. 28 for the first time since the fire.
But on Thursday the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) announced the trail was closed again for crews to remove debris and repair damage from a rainstorm that flooded parts of the Gorge earlier this week.
USFS said the trail and surrounding recreation area will be closed until further notice.
The federal agency is partnering with the Pacific Crest Trail Association to remove fallen trees, fix areas damaged by landslides and prepare for future potential damage to the trail. USFS said the cleanup will start "as soon as it is deemed safe to do so."
A teenage boy started the Eagle Creek Fire on Sept. 2, 2017, by illegally lighting fireworks, according to Oregon State Police.
The wildfire resulted in a loss of vegetation throughout the steep slopes of the Eagle Creek Recreation Area, making it prone to landslides, rockfalls and debris flows from heavy rains.
On Tuesday night into Wednesday, a powerful storm drenched much of Western Oregon, causing landslides throughout the Gorge and closing a 20-mile stretch of Interstate 84 eastbound, from Troutdale to Ainsworth State Park.
Authorities said one person is believed to have been swept away by flowing debris while driving in the Gorge during the storm.