Photo by Mark Gibson
Fire crews sit on a ridge west of the entrance of Rowena Dell Sunday morning, viewed from Rowena Viewpoint on Old Highway 30. Nearby residents were warned to be ready to evacuate Saturday.
Mark B. Gibson photo
As of Monday, July 9, 2018
UPDATE: As of July 9, 8 a.m., the Wasco County Sheriff's office in cooperation with Memaloose Fire Command has lifted all evacuation notices for residents directly affected by the Memaloose fire. The westbound rest area will remain closed until further notice: Refer to Trip Check Oregon for updates regarding the rest area. Memaloose park remains open for campers with current reservations only.
Firefighters worked on Saturday to complete fireline around the sixty-five acre Memaloose Park Fire, located 23 miles west of The Dalles. Sunday morning the fire was 35 percent contained as of Sunday. Firefighters from Mosier Fire Department, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area assisted Oregon Department of Forestry in the suppression effort providing water tenders, fire engines and fire fighters.
On Sunday, firefighters worked to mop-up heat and flames within the fire area. “This is an early season fire, we will be mopping-up 100 percent so we can focus efforts on future fires as we continue into the heart of fire season,” said acting unit forester for The Dalles Brian Reel. Firefighters systematically made a grid of the fire, digging into the ground to expose burning material in the soil, using water to put the fire out and dousing burning vegetation. Firefighters were supported by a Type 2 helicopter dropping water on hot spots.
The fire threatened homes in the Rowena Dell area. Highway 30 re-opened late Saturday. Memaloose State Park is currently closed to new campers entering the campground. This closure is in place to ensure firefighter and public safety during firefighting activities. The westbound Interstate 84 Memaloose Rest Area will remain closed until repairs can be made to the electrical system, which was damaged by the fire.
The fire burned lands within Memaloose State Park, Oregon Travel Experience’s Memaloose Rest Area, and private lands protected by Oregon Department of Forestry and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue protection, and some lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The fire was human caused and is under investigation.