STEVENSON, Wash. -- Roughly 70 people evacuated by the Eagle Creek Fire checked in at the Red Cross shelter in Stevenson on Sunday. The agency was using buildings at the Skamania County fairgrounds just across the river to temporarily house people and their pets.
Approximately 130 homes in and around Cascade Locks were forced to evacuate due to the fire. Other parts of the city were on Level 2 evacuation orders. A level 2 notice means to be ready to evacuate at any moment.
As of Sunday evening, around a dozen people were staying on cots indoors at the Hegewald Center building at the fairgrounds. Several others were staying in tents and RVs in a grass field just outside. Roughly 30 cats and dogs were being kept at a nearby barn as well.
Several of those who were evacuated told KGW that they received the orders early Sunday morning. “I’m scared to death. I just want to be able to go home,” said Brenda Johnston of Cascade Locks, fighting back tears.
“I’m terrified. I really am. Because I don’t know if I have a house, a job, clothes, food,” said Sandra Miller. Miller, her mom, and their two cats evacuated their Cascade Locks home ahead of a level 3 evacuation order. “It’s scary. It’s really scary.”
Others showed up at the shelter and offered to help out. “We could see from our deck, all the big flames,” said Colleen Seehafer of Stevenson. “We could leave. But if we could help people, we’d like to do that.”
“I think its really important for folks to understand that the fire is still new. And that it’s going to be a very dynamic situation,” said Red Cross Planning and Readiness Manager Curtis Peetz. “People need to be relaxed and understand that the fire teams are going to do the best they can, and we’re going to be here to take care of folks.”
Chuck Jines spent the night in his Prius in Stevenson. He was told to evacuate Cascade Locks. He stuffed what he could in the back of the car, and made his way to the fairgrounds.
“We could see the fire was coming up over one of the ridges probably about 10 at night, it’s like like 'oh god',” he said. “I brought a tent with me but by 7 o'clock at night it was 90 degrees, I didn’t want to go in the tent.”
"These people here have been nice, done a really good job, really been nice, but it's not like sleeping in your own bed, or anything like that," Jines said. "It was kind of rough, we’re hoping to go back home today."
In Troutdale, you can now attend a reception center at The Chapel Church, where you can find resources and information. However, that is not an overnight shelter, and will close at 8pm Monday. It will re-open Tuesday at 8am-8pm.
Reception Center: Chapel Church
27132 SE Stark Street
Troutdale, OR 90760
Hours of operation on September 4, 2017 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Hours of operations on September 5, 2017 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Shelter: 710 SW Rock Creek Dr
Stevenson, WA 98648
Shelter questions only Red Cross Duty Officer 1 888 680 1455
Companion animals (pets) co-located