Oregon: Teenager Under Investigation For Starting Wildfire

Smoky air has brought on health warnings and cancelled outdoor activities for many school districts across the western United Sates, and doctors say residents, especially those with lung or heart problems, should avoid going outdoors until the smoke moves away.

A 14-square-mile fire in Montana's Glacier National Park emptied its busiest tourist spot as wind gusts drove the flames toward the doorstep of the iconic Lake McDonald Lodge, a 103-year-old hotel that's an endearing park symbol for many visitors. She said about 100 people had gathered to watch the fire burning on the other side of the Columbia River.

OR fisheries managers released thousands of hatchery salmon months early in response to the Gorge wildfire to reduce demands on water and equipment.

"It is believed he and others may have been using fireworks which started the forest fire along the Eagle Creek Trail", an OSP news release states.

"The fire is burning right along the interstate and it's just not safe", he said at a briefing early Tuesday morning.

People in OR covered their faces to shield themselves from the smoke and the ashes falling on them. Troutdale east of 257th Avenue and north of Stark Street and west of the Sandy River was put on a level 1 evacuation notice Tuesday afternoon. Thick black smoke closed parts of two highways as firefighters struggled to fight the blaze fueled by winds gusting at up to 40 miles per hour. With winds relatively calm throughout the day, all seemed to be relatively calm in the Gorge until the fire rapidly started expanding Monday evening. But on Tuesday, after the Archer Mountain Fire forced residents from their homes, the shelter's population grew by 25 percent, Red Cross officials said.

Giant sequoias are resilient and can withstand low-intensity fires. Many climbers were saved by Sunday after the fire closed climbing trails in the region.

According to a report from Oregon Public Broadcasting, Fire Information Officer Lauren Maloney said Thursday morning that crews are feeling "pretty good" about the progress made overnight.

OR wildfires burned 885 square miles (2,292 square kilometers) in 2015.

In Washington state, the U.S. Department of Defense has agreed to assign 200 active-duty soldiers to help fight wildfires.

Mandatory evacuations were announced for the fire near Mount Rainier, including the Crystal Mountain ski resort. An air-quality alert is in effect through this Friday because of smoke.

The situation is critical in the area as the fire is out of control. Washington's State Route 14, which runs parallel to I-84, is now closed to commercial traffic in the same area. The Oregon State Fire Marshal's task force is performing structure protection.

  • Rogelio Becker